Cortland’s Grafton and Swisher receive top honors from WVAPA

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(left to right) Mary Swisher and Marie Grafton hold their Activity Assistant of the Year and Activity Director of the Year plaques from the annual West Virginia Activity Professionals Association convention held in Vienna last month.

Thomas, WV – Cortland Acres’ Activity Director, Marie Grafton and Activity Assistant, Mary Swisher received top honors at the annual West Virginia Activity Professionals Association (WVAPA) conference last month.

Nominated by Cortland Activity staff member, Cindy Helmick, Grafton earned the coveted WVAPA Activity Director of the Year award. Helmicks’ passionate nomination summarized Grafton’s thirty-seven years at Cortland as being encouraging and supportive. “Marie, along with her activity staff, run a top notch program for the Cortland residents, states Cortland administrator, Beth Clevenger. “The daily engagement they provide and the variety of activities they make available to residents is incredible. But what’s so amazing to watch is the compassionate contact they have with all the residents.”

It is clear that the role Grafton has played in the lives of residents and their families down through the years has been inspirational to many. The priority for each resident centers on their individual wants, needs and dreams and is at the forefront of all activity planning.

“It has been a privilege working with the residents of Cortland Acres and their families as well as the wonderful activity staff,” explains Grafton. “I couldn’t do anything without them. What an honor to be recognized by my peers.”

In a delightful twist of fate, Grafton nominated Swisher for consideration for the Activity Assistant of the Year award. Operating as her side-kick for the last twenty-three years, Swisher is more than just a “helping hand”. The official nomination drew a picture of boundless energy and dedication to residents, along with a knack for organizing unique activities. While many would consider this a “job”, Swisher approaches her days at Cortland as a calling. “I appreciate being recognized as the WV Assistant Activity Director for 2019”, states Swisher. “Knowing that there are many assistants across the State who work just as hard.”

According to their website, the WVAPA “works to assist in establishing and maintaining high standards for activities and social service personnel in the areas of care and services for residents”. They also provide ongoing education opportunities, certification and the ability to network with other activity professionals from around the state.