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Published: April 25, 2024

photo collage of Kendal Stars with green background and two yellow lines

Along with competitive wages and benefits, working at Kendal means getting lots of smiles and thank-you’s from residents. Plus, twice a year residents show their gratitude with monetary gifts that are divided among non-management employees based on their years of service.

But like any workplace, some employees stand out because of how hard they work, and Kendal residents have an opportunity to nominate non-management staff for LeadingAge Ohio’s annual STARS Awards Program. Resident family members and staff can also nominate an employee.Over the years close to 50 Kendal employees have received a STARS Award.

“These are. employees who shine vividly, radiating unbelievable amounts of energy, compassion, and dedication during their interactions with residents and their co-workers,” explains Toni Merleno, Human Resources director.

Toni, in consultation with the CEO, has the “difficult” task of going through all the nominations and selecting up to six standouts, the maximum number each LeadingAge Ohio member facility can nominate.

Meet Kendal’s 2024 STARS, who will be honored at a luncheon in June.

Lynne Bloomingdale, Independent Living Housekeeper

Lynne has worked at Kendal for 3 years, cleaning resident cottages in lots 4 and 5 on a rotating schedule.

“My favorite thing about working at Kendal is, by far, the residents. They inspire me and educate me in many ways. I have grown as a person since working here and having daily interactions with them. I am amazed by both their talents and their perseverance. When I was on a four-month medical leave, I received many cards and well wishes from them and it gave me much strength at a very difficult  time personally.  I realized that Kendal residents feed my soul and it is definitely more than just a job for me.”

Jim Keith, Facility Services Maintenance Technician

Jim has worked at Kendal for 17 years, second shift in Facility Services.

“I work on mostly miscellaneous projects like lights, program setups in the auditorium, phone lines, and plumbing issues, whatever occurs on my shift. Residents like my sense of personality and sense of humor.

Travis Mansfield, Stephens Care Center Dining Server

Travis has worked at Kendal for 2 years, waiting on tables as well as sometimes cooking breakfast in the country kitchen.

“What I like best about working at Kendal is that I get to interact with all of the residents and hear their stories. What I have learned from working in a setting with older adults is that they are just as playful and like joking around as much as anyone else. I look forward to many more years at Kendal.”

Hana Roth, Stephens Care Center Licensed Practical Nurse

Hana has worked at Kendal two years as an LPN, giving medications, completing wound care, assisting with personal care, and communicating with residents, their families and staff.

“I love to take care of my residents and their well-being. It is very important to work together as a team to make our residents every day the best. Kendal is a special place full of amazing people. I love to take care of them the most and make sure their needs are met.”

Claire Regan, Fitness Center Wellness Specialist

Claire has worked at Kendal for 2 years, teaching fitness classes, wellness coaching, fitness assessments, one on one sessions in the Stephens Care Center and creating personal workout programs.  


“I’ve always enjoyed spending time with older adults, starting with lots of overnights with my grandparents growing up.  I’m not sure if it’s my love of 50’s-70’s music, or older adults having better jokes, but we have always got along well.  Spending time with residents and staff in my fitness classes and wellness/fitness coaching is one of the best parts about working at Kendal – building and fostering relationships where there is mutual care and respect for each other.” 


Donna Weber, Insurance Coordinator

Donna has worked at Kendal 9 years, helping residents navigate health Insurance processes, understand health insurance and deal with health insurance issues that arise.

“Our residents are kind, courteous, caring, patient, smart, well educated, and fun.  They are the best part of my job. I learned that aging is just a number and that living a healthy lifestyle is everything when getting older.  This job taught me patience.  I must meet the resident where they are.”  


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Author Molly Kavanaugh 2020In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.