Benchmark Senior Living Honors Best of the Best at Annual Gala

Woman receiving award at gala

It is true that an organization is only as strong and as compassionate as its people, which is why Benchmark Senior Living (, a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast, is widely known for having the best, brightest and most caring talent in health care.

At its 16th Annual Awards Gala held March 30, 2018, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Mass., Benchmark Senior Living presented 11 awards to Benchmark individual associates and communities that are making the world a better place by transforming the lives of residents, their families and other associates. The winners, all nominated for their 2017 contributions, were selected by an awards committee chaired by Chairman and CEO Tom Grape.

The highest individual award, the Compassionate Caregiver Award, was given to Norrett Burnett of Bridgeport, Conn., a Resident Care Associate in memory care for Middlebrook Farms at Trumbull in Trumbull, Conn. Nominated by residents and family members at her community, Burnett’s nomination was one of nearly 250 submitted across Benchmark’s 56 communities in seven states. Her selection was based on “her keen observation skills, intelligence, unparalleled compassion, a wealth of experience and for setting a high standard of care,” says Grape.

Throughout the year, service champions, or those who go above and beyond to provide transformative experiences to residents, families and fellow associates, are chosen monthly at each of the 56 Benchmark Senior Living communities and the Waltham, Mass., home office. At year-end, an overall winner for the year is selected. Benchmark’s 2017 Service Champion Award was bestowed upon Kim Flanagan who hails from Branford, Conn. A Resident Care Associate for The Village at Mariner’s Point in East Haven, Conn., Flanagan was applauded for her spirit and desire to “Be the Benchmark” with every action she takes.

The following individual associates and communities were also recognized for honoring their commitment to putting people and purpose at the center of everything they do.

Beacon Award

John Sullivan, Plant Operations Director for Benchmark Senior Living at Shrewsbury Crossings in Shrewsbury, Mass., who lives in Sutton, Mass., was honored for consistently modeling Benchmark values in service to residents, families and fellow associates.

Unsung Hero

Award Christina Prout, Regional Manager of Training and Development for Benchmark Senior Living who lives in Stafford Springs, Conn., was recognized for demonstrating Benchmark values behind the scenes and working tirelessly to fill open leadership positions across the company.

Darrell Harvey Values Award

Chris Golen, Campus Executive Director for The Commons in Lincoln in Lincoln, Mass., who lives in Pelham, N.H. was recognized for his leadership in exemplifying Benchmark values. Golen is a three-time award winner having served the company in a variety of capacities over the years and with a proven track record of excellence.

Peter M. Small Award for Community Excellence

This honor was given to Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossings in Ridgefield, Conn., for achieving high overall resident, family and associate satisfaction. Accepted by Executive Director Bill Crawford of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., the community was applauded for best exemplifying Benchmark in every way based on superior performance and leadership.

One Company Fund Award

Benchmark’s One Company Fund is a 501c3 organization that has raised over $3.5 million since its inception over 10 years ago. Grants from the Fund are given to associates in times of need when they can’t purchase the necessities of life or meet the contingencies created by an emergency. This award was bestowed upon The Village at Buckland Court in South Windsor, Conn., for exemplifying the Fund’s vision of having associates who are truly engaged in supporting and utilizing it. The award was accepted by Executive Director Doug Murphy of Mansfield Center, Conn.

Circle Award

Presented to The Birches at Concord in Concord, N.H., for achieving superior resident and family satisfaction with high occupancy and customer loyalty scores, the award was accepted by Executive Director Chuck Crush of Concord, N.H.

Ripple Award

Given to Edgehill in Stamford, Conn., for recognizing the “ripple effect” of excellent leadership and meaningful human connection, the community was hailed for its high associate loyalty scores, low turnover rates, and highest retention rates in the company. The award was accepted by Executive Director Chris Barstein of West Haven, Conn.

Navigation Award

This award was presented to Coachman Square at Woodbridge in Woodbridge, Conn., for achieving the highest financial and business performance during the prior calendar year. It was accepted by Dining Services Director Christopher Raymond, who lives in New Britain, Conn. “The associates and communities we honored are those who make Benchmark who we are through their actions, words and special abilities to make the world a better place for so many people – understanding them, honoring them and connecting them to the people and things that matter most,” says Grape. “We hold our Annual Awards Gala to celebrate the special people among us who excel at transforming lives through human connection. I’m grateful for them all!”

About Benchmark Senior Living

Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark Senior Living is a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark operates 58 senior living communities offering independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and continuing care in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Benchmark has been recognized as a top workplace by The Boston Globe for 10 consecutive years as well as by the Boston Business Journal, Connecticut Post, Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal. It’s been named one of the healthiest employers by the Boston Business Journal and Providence Business News. For more information, visit

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (603) 502-0469.