Surlow Award Recognizes Employee Excellence

Kavod Connections

Throughout his life, one thing that Maurice Surlow understood was the power of great customer service.

Living well into his late 90s, Maurice spent a brief time living at Ovation Jewish Home. According to his great niece,

Debbie Zucker, the care he received from the nurses and dietary aids left an impression on him.

“(Maurice) was born in Hungary, had a family of eight siblings, and came to Milwaukee in the early 1900s when he was eight years-old,” Zucker said. “As an entrepreneur, Uncle Maury worked very hard operating Roxy’s Dress Store, a woman’s clothing store, and several other businesses. He worked for everything he had.

“Through all of his hard work in life, and savvy investments, philanthropy and helping support the Milwaukee community became near and dear to Uncle Maury’s heart.”

Debbie’s father, Bob Zucker, suggested to Maurice that an awards program be started in his name to honor the hardworking and dedicated staff at Ovation Communities.

The Maurice Surlow Award for Employee Excellence recognizes Ovation Communities staff members who provide superior quality of care to residents and their families.

“Our society doesn’t understand how important and valuable caregiving is as a profession,” Zucker said. “It means a lot to our family to be able to honor caregivers, whether they are nurses, CNAs working their way up, or people in the dietary department. It means a lot to honor working people.

“Uncle Maury worked his way up,” Zucker continued. “He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He appreciated the hard work of people who go the extra mile, while connecting with other human beings in a human way. That kind of stuff wasn’t lost on him.”

Established in 2000 and awarded three times a year, this summer the Surlow and Zucker family awarded Sabrina Stewart, CNA; Belaynesh Bekele, CNA; Katie Waara, Jewish Home Admissions Manager; and Elizabeth Kayser, Activities Specialist, the Maurice Surlow Award for Employee Excellence for all of their care and commitment shown to residents.

Staff members who receive the prestigious award are nominated by their peers, residents and families. They are recognized at a ceremony where they are given a plaque, a celebratory lunch and a monetary gift.

“Maurice Surlow was a man who cared deeply about people and supporting his community,” said Michael Sattell, Ovation Communities President and CEO. “We are very grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate people, who go above and beyond their everyday responsibilities, in a public way with
their community, friends and family.”