I recently attended the annual Colorado Health Care Association banquet and awards ceremony, my first in three years. The esteemed Nancy Fox, visionary, brilliant teacher, and a colleague of mine, received the Vesta-Bowden award, the most prestigious recognition given to those working in long term care in Colorado.
As I was sitting next to her and the presenter was speaking, Nancy began to realize that the award was for her. She grabbed my hand and that was a poignant moment. I received the same recognition exactly 20 years ago, which added to the inner peace of mind I was experiencing. Of course that was the highlight of the evening, as well as reacquainting with old professional colleagues and friends.
Yet something else happened. Completely unexpected.
A former executive of my company had not spoken to me, or even acknowledged me, in almost a decade, despite serving on the same board for many years. She had a 12 year, contentious tenure at Piñon. She was a warrior and led Piñon through many of its most daunting opportunities, including the Fitzsimons State Veterans nursing home project. That year (2004), she too received the distinguished Vesta-Bowden Award. Unfortunately, it was necessary that we part ways. That was singularly the most difficult decision of my career.
Yet standing there, in the aftermath of Nancy’s recognition, she appeared. Right in front of me. Almost out of nowhere.
I naturally stiffened, in spite of feeling the afterglow of the evening. “Hello. How are you Jeff?” she asked, looking right at me. “You’re looking great,” she continued.
And at that point she offered me a generous hug, startlingly unexpected but capping off a most wondrous evening.