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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Heath care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

2015 Caring Award Honorees Presented

October 30, 2015 02:52 PM

On Friday, October 30, Val J. Halamandaris, founder of the Caring Institute and President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, presented the 2015 Caring Awards honorees, including five young adult winners, six adult winners, and one International Caring award recipient. At the Caring Award Ceremony, the honorees were recognized and inducted into the Caring Hall of Fame. The Caring Institute’s mission is to promote the values of caring, integrity, and public service.
The award winners were presented at the ceremony with the exception of Pope Francis, who will be honored with the award in Rome. In accepting the awards, the honorees each gave remarks telling their inspirational stories of caring.
The awards were previously announced by Senators Bob Dole and Tom Daschle, co-chairs of the Caring Institute. This year marks the Institute’s 30th year highlighting persons who exemplify selfless service to those in need. “We are honored to celebrate these extraordinary people who have used their lives for the benefit of others,” said Senator Dole.
“These persons honor us by the quality of their lives, so it is highly appropriate that we honor them and hold them up as role models to be emulated by all,” said Senator Daschle.
Following a rendition of “Imagine” by the singer Summer Pearson, Halamandaris opened the ceremony by reminding the audience how he founded the Caring Institute in 1985 after a meeting with Mother Teresa, who told him there was a poverty of the spirit in the developed world that was much worse than the poverty of the body seen in the developing world. When she directed him to do something about it, he founded an awards program that identifies those who give back to society in outstanding ways and holds them up as role models for all.
Following are the 2015 Caring Award honorees:
International Caring Award Recipient
Pope Francis
Preaching the Gospel of Caring

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became pope, he chose to be called after St. Francis of Assisi. The thirteenth-century saint was “the man of poverty,” he said, “the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.” The first pope from the developing world has followed in his path by speaking out for peace and social justice worldwide. Pope Francis has expressed a new view of Catholic gay rights and denounced extremists for perverting religion to justify their use of violence. He has called for reconciliation of the Korean peninsula, peace in war-torn Sri Lanka, and an end to conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has apologized for Roman-Catholic complicity in the mistreatment of Native Americans and denounced the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as “a form of genocide that must end.” He has also strived to bring all branches of Christianity together and urged the church to be a “poor church, for the poor.” This moral vision inspires his critique of unfettered profits as “the dung of the devil” and his call to stop corporations from turning “God’s creation, our earth, into a sewer.” Conservative commentators have taken issue with his contention that climate change weighs heaviest on the poor and, his demand that governments redistribute social benefits to the needy. But he responds that focusing on poverty and sacrificing for the poor are at the very “heart of the Gospel,” as St. Francis preached many years ago.
Adult Honorees
Dikembe Mutombo
Caring in the Congo

The former NBA star, and native of the Congo, has given his homeland the ultimate assist as head of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to combat illness and disease. He has dreamt of helping others since childhood and fulfilled this goal by creating clinics in the Congo and providing it with medical supplies. He has also played center stage in the fight against polio by boosting vaccination efforts and bringing treatment to victims of the disease. In addition, he has made seven trips to Africa with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and helped fit hearing aids to thousands of children who otherwise would never have heard their mother’s voice. Most impressive of all, he donated $15 million to open the Biamba Maria Mutombo Hospital, the first modern hospital to be built in Kinshasa in over 40 years.
James R. Langevin
Leading Through Caring

Jim Langevin represents a victory of the human spirit.  He has always had a passion to serve others.  His dream of doing so as a policeman ended in 1980 when a police officer’s gun accidentally discharged, leaving him a quadriplegic.  However, the bullet that broke his body didn’t break his spirit.  He transcended his injuries, remained positive, and looked for new ways to serve the public.  He was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 1988 and to the U.S. House in 2000 where he has been reelected seven times.  There, he has been a champion of the environment, fought to increase funding for medical research, won improvements in the Americans with Disabilities Act, advocated for a strong defense, and co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus—a role that led to him being honored on CBS 60 Minutes.  With equal passion, he has fought to preserve the personal freedoms for all U.S. citizens, especially the aged, infirm, disabled, and dying, to live independently in their own homes avoiding institutionalization.  Lauded for his leadership and ability to get things done, Langevin’s secret is his reputation for being the most caring member of Congress.
Gloria Lewis
Treating the Homeless like Family

When Gloria grew up in Barbados, her family always had a good meal on Sunday. That’s the reason she chose Sundays to feed Fort Lauderdale’s homeless as part of her mission, CARE IN ACTION USA. Over the past three years, she and her husband have served over 18,000 meals out of the back of their 1991 Honda Accord. Lewis, who works as a waitress in a deli, buys the food, cooks it in her kitchen, and never skips a Sunday. Sometimes she gets exhausted, and often she’s had to scrimp so the homeless could eat. But she wouldn’t dream of letting them down because she looks on the homeless like her family.
Noah Levinson
Saving Lives on the Streets

The sights Noah saw as a volunteer for Mother Teresa in Calcutta after high school led him to found Calcutta Kids. He was distressed to watch people die of curable diseases, so he started a mobile clinic that drives around Calcutta providing medical treatment to street children. Realizing their illnesses were the product of poor immune systems and malnutrition, he also launched an initiative to provide pregnant women with nutrition, counseling, and checkups. Noah is evidence-based in all he does and this shows in the results: rising birth rates, falling malnutrition rates, and many saved lives in the area he serves.
Jorge Muñoz
Bringing a Bit of Heaven to Queens

Jorge drives a school bus by day but seems to sprout wings at night when he feeds hundreds of the homeless and unemployed. The Angel in Queens, as he is known, began his labor of love after he noticed men huddled near the subway tracks and heard their tales of desperation. Moved by their plight, he began turning up most days with paper bags containing an apple, a biscuit, and something to drink. In time, he began using his own money to buy food and his free time to cook it. Every night he gets in his pick-up truck and drives to Queens, where he has provided nearly 100,000 meals.
Young Adult Honorees
Michael Bervell
Age 17, Washington

Michael and his volunteers at Hugs for Ghana have collected $75,000 in toys, school supplies, and donations for underprivileged children in Ghana. Michael also gives students a chance to serve others in the U.S. through his program Helping U Grow.
Lulu Cerone
Age 16, California

Lulu throws “philanthro-parties” that have raised nearly $80,000 for schools and clean water projects in developing nations. She shares her ideas online, where she urges young people to be LemonAID Warriors, who put social good into every social gathering.
Haile Thomas
Age 14, Arizona

Haile helps young people learn to cook and eat better. She has given them a taste for healthy eating by hosting an online cooking show, doing cooking demonstrations, and founding the HAPPY Organization, a health center for underprivileged kids.
Emilee Hamilton
Age 18, Utah

Emilee’s love for the aged inspired her to found Utah YOUth Connect, which brings seniors and middle school students together. . She has raised nearly $9,000 to get 15,000 kids involved in visiting retirement homes and showing seniors that someone really cares.
Lillian Pravda
Age 14, New York

Lillian shows her keen sense of vision by giving needy children the gift of sight. As founder of Vision For and From Children, she has enlisted volunteer doctors and raised enough funds to provide eye surgery for 25, 210 children in the U.S. and developing world.




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