Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency 2016 Leadership Awards

On September 30, 2016, five very special people were awarded the 2016 NHOA Leadership Awards as part of our 35th Anniversary Celebration.


The NHOA Service to Residents Award honors ombudsmen who have worked directly with and for consumers to improve the lives of long-term care residents. This award honors ombudsmen who have effectively advocated for residents and performed exemplary ombudsman service. Honorees not only serve consumers, but are supportive mentors to other ombudsmen.

2016 Recipients – Ann Evans and Madge Lynn

Ann Evans has been with the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass for nearly 30 years, making her our longest continuously serving ombudsman. Ann has stuck by NHOA’s side through thick and thin, tirelessly advocating for residents in Lawrenceburg and mentoring her fellow ombudsmen.  We thank Ann for her commitment to protecting and promoting residents’ rights and for all of the work she has done for NHOA.

Madge Lynn has been an invaluable asset to NHOA from the start of her time with us.  Madge has helped guide and mentor new ombudsmen.  She is quick to volunteer to help NHOA in anything the agency needs, whether it’s covering an out-of-town facility or helping with our signature fundraiser, Decorator’s Showcase. Thank you, Madge, for your dedication to the residents of the Bluegrass and to NHOA.


This award honors individuals or organizations who advance the financial sustainability of NHOA. Honorees go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that NHOA’s services are funded and our mission to improve care for long-term care residents is achieved.

2016 Recipient – Paula DeBoor

Paula DeBoor joined NHOA’s Board of Directors in 1985 and has played a major role in ensuring NHOA’s financial sustainability ever since. Even before joining the Board, Paula was involved in the Women’s Neighborly Organization’s Decorators’ Showcase. After WNO disbanded and passed the Showcase on to NHOA, Paula helped make it our signature fundraiser. She has chaired many Showcases and other events, working tirelessly to make them memorable and successful, down to the last detail. Paula is masterful at garnering resources and support for our agency, and we can’t thank her enough!


This award honors individuals or organizations who have positively impacted legislation and policy affecting long-term care residents. Honorees have provided exemplary leadership in the public policy field in advancing quality of care and quality of life for residents of long-term care facilities.

2016 Recipient – Nancy Andrews Leonard

Nancy Andrews Leonard retired from Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Department of Social Services after a long career as an Aging Services Specialist. Since retiring from city government Nancy has been performing legislative education and advocacy services as a volunteer for the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency.

Nancy joined the NHOA Board in 1982. She served as Chairman of the board several times and is the Chairman of the Legislation Committee. When you really think about it, few voices are silenced as much as the voices of our sickest, oldest, and frailest citizens tucked away in long-term care facilities. Nancy presents the resident/consumer experience when talking with lawmakers. It is very difficult to keep an eye on legislation related to long-term care services as it touches the judicial, appropriations, veterans’ affairs, and health and welfare committees, as well as state and federal benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Nancy performs an excellent job of gathering information about legislation, bills and sharing that information with residents, consumers, families, and other advocates. Nancy has a deep passion for helping the little man be heard at the capitol.


This award honors an individual who has dedicated their career or retirement to advocating for quality care and services for residents of long-term care facilities. Honorees have demonstrated a commitment to advancing long-term care reform while maintaining a personal commitment to integrity.

2016 Recipient – Kathy Gannoe

For more than 25 years Kathy Gannoe worked to improve the quality of care for residents of long-term care facilities as the Executive Director of NHOA & the Bluegrass District Ombudsman from 1984 until her retirement in 2009. Kathy’s knowledge and dedication to ombudsman skills, volunteer work, advocacy training, administrative and fundraising skills, gerontology and public policy were most impressive. These are all evident in the solid foundation and successes of NHOA she was responsible for during her 25-year career at NHOA.

Both locally and nationwide Kathy was known for her continuously well-reasoned, good tempered, and knowledgeable approach to ombudsman work and nonprofit management. Kathy was one of the pioneers of nursing home reform. Kathy has always been regarded as an outstanding national leader, often representing Kentucky in public policy and legislative forums. National nursing home reform activist Elma Holder once spoke these words about Kathy while congratulating her for receiving the Howard Hines award from the National Association of Local Long-Term Care Ombudsmen: “In my travels in other states, I’ve often cited her program and it’s creative, solid activities as a model for others.”

The thousands of consumers Kathy assisted could always count on her to help advance the nursing home reform movement. Kathy developed, piloted, researched and carried out dozens of programs and initiatives to help residents. Kathy’s unique way of explaining Residents’ Rights and the complicated system of long-term care was always so helpful to consumers and continues to shape how NHOA communicates with consumers even today. Kathy truly deserves this tribute for significant life’s work to improve the care and quality of life for people living in long-term care.