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Rocked It

Each month, RVPT staff members nominate fellow colleagues / teams that are going above and beyond, contributing their time and talents, firmly believing in our mission to improve the health of the communities where we live and work.

Congratulations to the following Making Better Lives Winners:


Dug Brondyke, PT, Medical Associates

We nominate Dug Brondyke for MBL.  Dug is ALWAYS doing thoughtful things for the staff and patients.  Last weekend he came in on his own time, used his own resources and made platforms for the washer and dryer.  He also switched the washer and dryer around to make it easier, safer & more ergonomic for our technicians to do the laundry.  He is always bringing treats or food, buying coffee, and just doing thoughtful things for everyone.  I have worked with Dug for many years and he is always going that extra step for making better lives for all patients and staff!
Nominated by Julie Harmon and Wendy Bloomhuff


Gretchen Nickerson, Front Desk, West Des Moines & Ingersoll

We would like to nominate Gretchen Nickerson,  one of our awesome front office assistants  who alternates between our WDM and Ingersoll clinics. We have a blind patient that relies on public transportation and is treated at both clinics. Last week she got confused and the bus brought her to Ingersoll, instead of West Des Moines where her appointment was that day. The bus driver was rather grumpy about bringing her to WDM as that would cause his schedule to be off the remainder of the day. Gretchen spoke with dispatch trying to get another driver to help out with the patient.  With no help from the driving service she took over and graciously offered to drive the patient to West Des Moines in her own vehicle. Gretchen  then called dispatch to confirm the time and location of her pick up to go home.  What she did was incredibly thoughtful and caring. Gretchen literally went the “extra mile!”  She went out of her way to insure the patient was taken care of and the patient was so grateful that we went above and beyond for her. Nominated by Karli Durham, Kristine Brankis and Marty Ungs



Jordan DeNeve, DPT, Crow Valley            Nikki Steffes, MPT, Crow Valley

When I was stuck in Iowa City at an appointment unable to drive home, both Jordan DeNeve and Nicole Steffes dropped everything in their schedules to come pick me up, make sure I had everything I needed and that my car made it back home that night. Their willingness to step up and help out alleviated a lot of stress and worry.  Jordan and Nicole's positive attitudes made the whole situation more fun and allowed me to have some good laughs on the trip home after a long day.  Rock Valley family for the win! 


Don Belton, Lead Front Desk, Dexter Court

I would like to nominate Don Belton from the Dexter Ct clinic  for Making Better Lives. Anytime Don experiences down time at his clinic, he is constantly offering his assistance to ALL Rock Valley clinics in completing various tasks. Just recently, Don agreed to complete final scans for approximately 100+ charts for a clinic outside of the Quad City region. This was a tremendous help and a great example of teamwork! It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that we work with individuals who are not only hardworking, but who also genuinely care. Thanks Don!   


Stacey Schuerman, ATC, Valley View Drive

Stacey Schuerman, ATC (Rock Island High School’s Athletic Trainer) spent a Saturday helping a former athlete while she underwent surgery.  The now collegiate athlete, had to undergo surgery in Northern Illinois.  The patient’s mother was unable to come because of starting a new job: therefore Stacey and his wife drove her, waited during the surgery, and then drove her home.  He and his wife were willing to give up their time to help a former student.  Stacey always goes above and beyond for his athletes and co-workers and we appreciate everything he does!



Alex Streniz, PTA, Tower Park

I nominate Alex Streinz, PTA from Tower Park.  She is young and has been at our clinic for a little over a year. I am impressed with her strong work ethic and willingness to help out. She has often offered to help not only the therapists, but offers assistance to the front office during busy times. She is willing to answer the phone, help a waiting patient, clean rooms or fold laundry. Alex has assisted our tech, a college student studying the PTA program and spent time helping her with her studies and assisted in any questions she was having.  Often times a patient can be nervous about seeing someone that is not the therapist they started their therapy with. After seeing Alex for the first time our patients are happy to see her again, they often ask if they can schedule some of their visits with her. Over the fall, Alex has been asked to help out at another clinic and happily drove extra miles to and from work to help them out while one of their therapists was on maternity leave.  Alex is a wonderful example of the type of therapist we want at Rock Valley, Alex helps make better lives for patients and coworkers!






Michelle Keester, Technician, DeWitt

I would like to nominate Michelle Keester from the DeWitt clinic. Michelle’s caring and compassionate nature is evident in all of her patient interactions, but this particular day was a prime example. We have a patient who is really declining in his function lately and has been having a lot of trouble walking. By the time he completed his treatment he was wiped out and struggling to make it to the door and then to his car, even with the assistance of Michelle and his wife. Michelle recognized that they would have trouble getting from the car into their home and followed the patient and his wife home in her car so she could safely help the wife get her husband into their home. Michelle truly makes our patients lives better, especially on this particular day!   Nominated by Kerri Hanna, PT, OCS






Cheryl Botkin, Front Office, Peoria Knoxville

I would like to nominate Cheryl Botkin for Making Better Lives. A former coworker of ours fell and fractured her shoulder and had to undergo surgical repair. This is a very difficult injury and recovery for anyone to undergo, but to complicate this, prior to the injury she struggled to make ends meet. Upon finding out about our friend’s situation and her inability to work to pay for rent, electric service, or food, Cheryl jumped in and has assisted her in getting set up on public aid, getting groceries, and more. Cheryl’s service and commitment to doing whatever needed to be done to help this individual makes her a perfect candidate for Making Better Lives.  Nominated by Luke Acklie, PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Congratulations to the following November Making Better Lives Winners:

Don, Jill and Kari - Dexter Court

Don Belton, Lead Front DeskJill Hipskind, PT,DPT, OCS, CSCSKari Atkins, Lead Technician

When a patient at our Dexter court location fell in the parking lot, Don Belton, Jill Hipskind and Kari Atkins immediately went out to help get him safely in a wheelchair. Thank you for your dedication to our patients!  Submitted by Andy Utsinger







Jeremy Starr, PT, DPT, Westgate

I nominate Jeremy Starr.  Jeremy is an excellent therapist! He always has a cheery, welcoming and caring demeanor toward patients and co-workers. He frequently goes above and beyond to conduct career fairs, he volunteers administering school physicals and most recently, he discovered a new line of posture apparel for his patients. Jeremy is a quiet, unsung hero to his patients who marvel at his level of care and compassion. Most recently, unprompted, he changed seven of eight light bulbs in my office so I wouldn’t be left in the dark. Thanks for caring and going above and beyond the job duties to make my life better. Submitted by Nancy Graves


Congratulations to the following winners for October’s Making Better Lives:

Alec Hirschauer, Technician, West Des Moines:

I would like to nominate Alec Hirschauer, our PT Tech in the West Des Moines Clinic. Alec is an aspiring physical therapist who is applying to PT School this year after discerning his pathway out of 2nd year Dental School last year. His mom was a current physical therapist here in our clinic and was able to introduce Alec to us, and after several times shadowing and observing, we offered him a job and he has done a great job with us. 

I’m nominating Alec, not because of his story, but because of his commitment to our patients. We’re realizing his gifts as a co-worker and having the talent to remember names, not necessarily the diagnosis attached to the name. His ability to converse with patients coming into our clinic has helped ease their natural anxiety, and his ability to plan and prepare for patients has been helpful and impressive. Alec goes out of his way to do what comes natural to him and go the extra mile to make every patient he comes in contact with feel more comfortable and confident that they are receiving good care. One of my patients who underwent a 13 hour surgery had to retire early from 21 years of being a grade school principal and makes mention weekly that Alec’s ability to communicate, prepare and deliver help and care has been great and will prepare him for the next step!! Thank you, Alec!!  Nominated by Dave Freeseman






Shani Storjohann, Technician, Savanna

I would like to nominate Shani Storjohann from the Savanna clinic for Making Better Lives. Last week, we received notification that the Medical Associates clinic was going to be without a front office staff for half of the week unexpectedly. Their schedule was jam-packed with new patients. After making a few phone calls, Shani, who regularly only works on Thursdays, immediately agreed to fill in on her days off to help the clinic. She dropped everything to rearrange her schedule to be there. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that we work with individuals who are not only hardworking, but who also genuinely care. Thank you, Shani!  Nominated by Rachel Oberle







Debbie Healy, PT, OSC, MBA, 43rd Ave

Debbie's patient sat out in the waiting room after her appointment was finished for an hour Debbie asked her if her husband was coming (he had a doctor’s appointment at the same time and had dropped her off and was going to pick her up when he was done) patient said she had been in contact with her husband and after an hour of waiting he hadn't even been brought back yet. Debbie offered her a ride to her husband’s appointment and when the patient accepted Debbie drove her car around front to pick up her patient who was in a boot and crutches. As Debbie was getting her car the patient commented to me how Debbie really goes above and beyond for her patients. Submitted by Ashley Anderson







Hannah Reid, Lead Front Desk, Muscatine

I had a patient come in who was not feeling well. She requested to be seen. It was not long into her treatment that the patient quickly took a turn for the worse. The patient was very adamant that she did not want us to call 911. She agreed to having her family physician called. Hannah Reid called the patient’s family physician for me and then the ambulance. The patient’s husband also became very distraught during this time.  Hannah sat with him and tried to reassure him that she would be okay. She also quickly called to reschedule some patient’s so they would not be coming into the action. She was also great help in getting the clinic back into working order before our next patients arrived.  Submitted by Gretchen Schroer


Congratulations to the following RVPT employees for winning MBL for August.  Lots of great examples of the RV family helping patients, co-workers and our communities. Congratulations to the following winners of Making Better Lives for July!  


Kim Christensen, MOT, OTR/L, CHT and Jessica (Murphy) Cartee, PT, DPT, OCS, 35th

Kim Christensen and Jessica Murphy have an elderly patient that they are both treating for two separate diagnosis. Monday he came into the clinic and was clearly in medical distress. His wife related that he had been to the emergency room on Sunday after a fall and after three hours of treatment they sent him home with pain medication. The patient was barely awake and his wife was beside herself as she knew that she could not care for him in this condition. Kim and Jessi spent considerable time contacting the emergency room and his personal doctor  to try to get this patient admitted to the hospital for evaluation and to help to transition him to a nursing home for rehab. They also spent time counseling the patient’s wife as she was very distressed. They assisted the patient to his car and followed up with the hospital. The patient did say that he wanted to come to therapy that morning because he knew that Rock Valley would know how to help him. Nominated by 35th Front Office.






Jason Tampir, PT, Westgate

I nominate Jason Tampir.  An illness in a co-workers family prevented them from properly caring for their yard for several weeks.  Knowing their need for assistance with this he showed up, after working all day, with equipment on hand.  He spent an hour weed eating, edging sidewalk and driveway, scraping and gathering yard waste.  All doing so with a great attitude and a smile, with an offer for future help.  And then to top this off he brought in homemade shredded pork sandwiches, potato salad, fruit salad, and Snicker salad for a building party lunch w/ neighboring healthcare providers.   A big thanks to him for his selfless donations of time & thoughtfulness and promotion of Goodwill in the building. Nominated by Nancy Graves






Gary Vande Kamp, PT, Home Health, Clinic Manager

I nominate Gary Vande Kamp.   He had a patient with extreme balance issues which required specialized footwear.  She cannot drive and seldomly gets out of the house, let alone into town.  In casual conversation he mentioned that he had driven to Brown’s Shoe Store in Clinton, picked up shoes for her and took them to her home.  This kind of personal touch for making better lives is something that falls in the “above and beyond” expectations category.  Thank you for leading by example Gary!  Nominated by Nancy Graves


Kristin Magnus, Technician, Crow Valley

I’d like to nominate a Kristin Magnus from the Crow Valley Clinic for Making Better Lives. We recently became a little short handed at the front office and Kristin, who had previously been doing an excellent job teching for us, willingly stepped up to start learning some front office tasks such as answering phones, scheduling, and helping out however possible to help things keep running smoothly here. I know this was a big jump in time demand and required a bit of a learning curve, but she brought a really positive attitude and has been an awesome addition up front. Many of my patients have commented how pleasant she is to work with both in the back and up front. I think she demonstrated what Rock Valley is all about-stepping up to fill a need and doing so with great customer service! Thank you Kristin!  Nominated by Jordan DeNeve

Thank you for all of your nominations, votes and care of our community.

Congratulations to Kerri and Cathy for being the June MBL winners!  Please see their nominations below:






Kerri Hanna, PT/Clinic Manager, DeWitt

I would like to nominate Kerri Hanna. Kerri is considerate and enthusiastic and has a High School Senior for a patient with an above the knee amputation  due to osteosarcoma. When Kerri started with this patient she only had her prosthesis on one time for fitting purposes. Kerri went home and researched any information she could find and was so eager to learn about this prosthesis that she drove to Iowa City on her morning off to meet with the Doctors. Kerri spent significant time learning about the complicated prosthesis and working with the client on motion, strength, and conditioning. Kerri performed gait training with the computerized prosthetic leg so that the patient could walk across the stage on graduation day. Kerri not only encouraged her at therapy, she practiced with her at the school on stage. Kerri attended graduation to clap along with the patient’s friends and family on a Sunday and  make sure she made it across the stage. This is a patient who dreamed of being able to walk across the stage for her graduation to receive her diploma on her own two legs. It was the first time her classmates saw her walk. Nominated by Dug Swanson, PTA






Cathy Mitchell, PT, WDM & ANKENY

I am nominating Cathy Mitchell from the WDM/Ankeny clinics. She has worn many hats in her years with Rock Valley; everything from Front Office, to PT to Clinic Manager. With all of the transitions and changes we have had recently in the Central Iowa area, Cathy has stepped up to the plate and been instrumental in helping to keep our WDM clinic caught up. She uses any free time that she has to sit at the front desk, schedule patients, take co-pays, verify insurance, enter new patients, enter Care Connections and help with the training of staff. Whatever is needed, she steps right up without hesitation and helps out to get the job done and ensure that our patients, as well as her fellow co-workers, are taken care of. Her experience as a front office has never been more helpful than over these past 2 months and I cannot thank her enough for her willingness to help. There have been many changes to the front office duties since she held that position, but she has picked it up as if no time has passed. I SO enjoy working with her and have appreciated all of her help, knowledge, expertise, patience and humor. Central Iowa and Rock Valley as a whole are EXTREMELY fortunate to have someone of her caliber as part of our family. She has definitely made “Better Lives” for those of us in the Central Iowa region and is most deserving of this recognition!  Nominated by Jami Anderson



















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