On July 18, 2014, John Moreno, executive director of Garden Terrace Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence in Aurora, was awarded Colorado Administrator of the Year by the Colorado Activity Professionals’ Association.


The award was presented to the administrator who consistently supports the activity team, promotes a better quality of life for residents, encourages activity professionals to be involved in CAPA, supports continuing education of the activity team and demonstrates an understanding of the value of the role of activities. Several associates from Garden Terrace wrote nomination letters describing how Moreno supports the activities department events, staff and opportunities for further education. He was one of 35 nominees.


Moreno has worked in health care for more than 24 years, and 15 of these years have been in long-term care, where he says his heart is.


Although Moreno is in a position to direct others, he feels he needs to be a hands-on administrator. Daily, you can see him making his way through the corridors, smiling and greeting residents, families and associates and doing little tasks for them. Every morning and afternoon, he performs grand rounds on each nursing unit.


Associates have commented that Moreno is a “mover and shaker” because he sees a problem and fixes it as quickly as possible.


Moreno is supportive of all departments and all associates. Whenever the activities department plans an event, he is there to actively participate and makes it a point to ask the other departments to be involved as well. He is the first in line to fire up the grill and flip hamburgers and play outdoor games in the courtyard with residents. He walks in cake walks and judges costumes at Halloween parties. He helps decorate the community at Christmas, sets up for special community events and always supports monthly fundraisers. He has even been known to ride a stick horse in the facility’s horse derby races.


There are many times when Moreno will come to the building in the middle of the night with pizza or other goodies, just to let the associates know how much he appreciates them because he doesn’t get to see them as often as the daytime staff.


Moreno is a shining example of professionalism and kindness. You can tell by his actions that he genuinely cares about the residents, associates and visitors in the facility. His associates feel joy and security just knowing that he has everyone’s best interests at heart.


Moreno knows all of his associates by name and supports further education to empower them to perform at their best. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable, but you can tell he loves what he does and takes tremendous pride in his building and all who step foot in it.


“Happy staff makes for happy residents, which makes for happy families,” Moreno always says.