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2022 Heroes of the Year

About the program

Launched in the third quarter of 1999 and inspired by our Heroes on the Home Front television campaign, the BAYADA Hero Program is one of many programs devoted to recognizing and rewarding those employees who maintain the highest standards of safety and care in home health services. The program was established to recognize our home health care professionals who consistently demonstrate the core values of The BAYADA Way. Their work epitomizes our mission of helping people have a safe home life with comfort, independence, and dignity by providing the highest quality home health care services available.

Watch: Michele Puzio | BAYADA PT Hero of the Year 2022 

Michele Puzio PT Hero of the Year 2022

“Michelle thinks about and cares for her clients 24/7. She will make phone calls after hours … weekends … whatever the family needs Michelle takes care of. Her clients say she is a constant source of comfort and joy.” — Joanne Berni, Client Services Manager

For nearly 20 years, many BAYADA clients and their families have eagerly anticipated Physical Therapist Michele Puzio walking through their door. They know that with Michele on the case, therapy is something they never have to worry about. Her luminous smile, inspiring passion, and relentless optimism have helped clients build one victory on top of another until goals once thought impossible, become realities.

Michele was chosen as BAYADA PT Hero of the Year for her selfless dedication and compassionate commitment to all her young clients and their families. Nothing is too much for her to do. And like all true heroes, Michelle deflects credit from herself and focuses it instead on the people she is helping.

Watch: Kimberly Den Bleyker | BAYADA LPN Hero of the Year 2022

Kimberly Den Bleyker BAYADA LPN Hero of the Year 2022

“She’s one of a kind. I have never met anybody like her. She truly cares about her job, and she comes to work always with a list of things she wants to get done.” — Maria P., mother of BAYADA client Jax

All the fun you see Licensed Practical Nurse Kim Den Bleyker having with her pediatric clients has a therapeutic goal in mind. She’s always trying new things to help children with chronic medical conditions develop new skills and just enjoy being a kid. Her mission to “love them up” and lighten their burdens makes Kim a fairy godmother to her clients and families, but to Kim, the privilege makes her a better person.

Kim was chosen as BAYADA LPN Hero of the Year for being “the best of the best,” building special bonds with everyone she serves, and making life better for countless children and families living with serious illness or disability.

Watch: Paula Candler | BAYADA CNA Hero of the Year 2022


Paula Candler BAYADA CNA Hero of the Year 2022

“Being a BAYADA Certified Nursing Assistant has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced, and I hope to keep doing it as long as I can. Our clients deserve it, and I enjoy it.” — Paula Candler, CNA

Paula Candler cared for many friends and relatives before starting a new career as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the age of 56. As she sees it, we’re all going to need help someday, and she wants to make sure people in need are “happy and looked after.” Paula has a gift for understanding an individual and doing just the right thing, at the right time, to make them feel respected, cared for, and supported.

Paula was named BAYADA CNA Hero of the Year for connecting with clients and family members on their terms, keeping them safe and comfortable, and sticking with them to the end with compassion, excellence, and reliability.

Watch: Mary Jane Williams | BAYADA RN Hero of the Year 2022

Mary Jane Williams RN Hero of the Year 2022

“She’s simply the best. Mary Jane has a calm, healing nature. She walks into any situation and gives 100% every shift, every time. Families say, ’We love MaryJane. We wish we could have her every day.’” — Kim Helton, LPN

Registered Nurse Mary Jane Williams is a fierce advocate for her clients and never settles for doing things the easy way. Rather, always insisting on doing things the right way. To her clients she is much more than a skilled, patient night nurse. She has become their friend, learning and sharing their interests, understanding their dreams, and bringing a sense of normalcy and joy in any way she can.

Mary Jane was chosen as BAYADA RN Hero of the Year for giving all she has—and then some. Her passion for her work knows no bounds: even when she was sick with COVID-19 and couldn’t work, she cried because she knew her clients needed her and couldn’t wait to be reunited with them again.