Chappel Receives State Caregiver Award

Jen Chappel has served Excelsior Springs for more than 20 years (photo S Jason Cole).

Jen Chappel, a caseworker at The Good Samaritan Center, is a well-known and beloved member of the Excelsior Springs community. For over 20 years, she has dedicated her time and effort to care for the low-income and homeless populations of Ray and rural Clay counties. Her tireless work has not gone unnoticed, and in February, she was awarded the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services State Caregiver of the Month Award for her unwavering dedication to her job, family, and community.

What many people do not know is that Jen’s work as a caregiver does not end when she leaves The Good Samaritan Center. In fact, it is just beginning. Jen and her husband, Jeff Chappel, have made a commitment to care for Jen’s mother-in-law, Irene, in their own home. Irene, who is now 86 years old, requires constant attention and care regarding her feeding, bathing, medicating, and more.

In her nomination letter, Jen’s co-worker, Kriston Mosley, underscored the difficulty of caring for an entire community as a profession, only to go home and find a similar situation waiting for you at home. “Being a social worker takes a serious emotional toll on the caseworker, and it is extremely important for their mental health to have an opportunity to decompress from all that trauma, poverty, and loss. Jen is never able to fully decompress as once her day is complete at work, she must tend to the same at home.”

Mosley went on to say that Jen’s commitment to caring for others, including her mother-in-law, is ceaseless, enduring, ground-breaking, life-changing, and ultimately a fulcrum for the quality of life of most anyone she applies that care to. Her ability to balance both her job and personal life is truly remarkable, and she serves as an inspiration to us all.

When asked about her caregiving responsibilities, Jen said, “It is difficult to care for an aging person, and it is exhausting, both physically and mentally, but it is rewarding at the same time. We just have to focus on the joy in every moment… I try to remind myself, that it is an honor to have been chosen by God for this task.”

Jen’s dedication to her job and her family is a testament to the power of love and selflessness, and we are lucky to have her in our community. Jen’s Caregiver of the Month award puts her in the running for the Caregiver of the Year, which will be decided at the end of the year. We wish her all the best!

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