LARNED — The Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) recently recognized the employees and volunteer of the quarter for the months of October, November, and December, 2014. These individuals were selected from nominations submitted by their peers; nominees are chosen based upon factors including job performance, dependability, competence, initiative, work ethic, and achievement.
Marilyn Chism, Food Service Supervisor Senior, was selected as the Non-Uniformed Employee of the Quarter.
Chism’s nomination commended her for being an extremely dedicated and hardworking person.
Viewed as “the Rock” of the food service department, she has been there every day, working not only her own schedule, but also any other schedule where she may be needed. She has seen the department through staff illnesses, facility audits, and a variety of difficult challenges. She possesses a tremendous knowledge of the facility and food service, and she has used that knowledge to train new staff and youth resident workers. Her unfailing support, flexibility, and understanding surely has seen the department through some difficult challenges in the past months, and her dedication is sincerely appreciated!
Marilyn has lived in Larned most of her life, graduating from Larned High School and taking courses from Barton Community College. She began her career of 20 years with the state of Kansas in June of 1977, when she began work in the Larned State Hospital Dietary Department.
She resigned two years later, but returned again in July of 1980 as a psychiatric aide, which soon became known as a mental health aide. In 1990, she resigned from LSH and went to work at the Topeka State Hospital, where she worked until March of 1993.
Marilyn came back to state service when she was rehired into her current position as a food service supervisor senior at LJCF in June of 2008. Previously, she served as both an aide and a cook in nursing homes, and worked for over fifteen years at Sunflower Diversified.
Marilyn has two grown children, Jessica and Joe Chism. She enjoys travelling, as well as spending time with her children, her three brothers, and their families.
Marylou LaFountaine, Juvenile Corrections Officer I, was selected as the Uniformed Employee of the Quarter.
Officer LaFountaine’s nomination from the 10-6 shift referred to her as, “Our light on the dark side.”
She was recognized for her dependability, always being on time, and always being ready to work. Her willingness to come in early or to stay late is much appreciated, as is her willingness to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Marylou is seen as someone who is kind and courteous, with a great sense of humor. Always ready with a smile, she is the kind of person we should all aspire to be.
Born and raised in Iowa, Marylou later moved to Texas and married David LaFountaine. The couple and their two children then moved to Washington, where she worked on the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation at the tribal school. There, she said she learned what it felt like to be an outsider, until a tribal elder took her under her wing; then, she was accepted and trusted to care for the children in the B-3 program, K-1st grade, and Head Start program. Marylou described her time in Washington as a “great learning experience” for her, but after losing David in 2001, she decided to move to Kansas to be closer to family.
Relocating to the Topeka area, she started work at a public school. After deciding that wasn’t the job for her, she went to work at an assisted living center and also accepted a job as the bar manager of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. She spent nine years working both jobs full-time.
In January of 2014, Marylou and her fiancé relocated to Larned to begin a new chapter. Officer LaFountaine started at the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility on Jan. 5, 2014, in her current position as a Juvenile Corrections Officer I. “From day one, I felt right at home,” said Marylou. “Everyone has been so helpful and great teachers. I have learned so much and am still learning new things every day. It is wonderful to be part of the LJCF family; I am so glad to be here and plan on staying until I retire.”
On her days off, Marylou enjoys visiting family and her four beautiful grandchildren, including twin boys born last September. Her grandson likes to help her bake and to participate in her favorite pastime, horseback riding. She also enjoys reading, being outdoors, and spending time with her fiancé.
Alfred Fleske, registered nurse senior, was selected as the Contract Employee of the Quarter.
Fleske’s nomination exclaimed his high level of personal integrity, his effective collaboration with others, and his consistent job performance and professionalism. His ability to adapt to new situations, combined with his good judgment and initiative, enables him to solve nearly any problem with which he is faced. Further, he is flexible and willing to learn — admirable traits that he seems to have in abundance.
His strong work ethic and dependability make Alfred a valuable team member. His utmost respect for others has, in turn, earned him the respect of staff and youth alike. Though mild-mannered, he demonstrates a consistent and exacting approach to the care provided to LJCF youth. Moreover, he challenges their poor behavior, provides effective and patient teaching, and holds them accountable for their choices.
In Alfred’s words, “I graduated from Larned High School with the goal of becoming a farmer.”
His mother had attended Fort Hays State University, so his parents insisted he go to college at Hays, too. He did for one year, and then transferred to Dodge City Community College (DCC) where he took agriculture classes to help him become what he really wanted to be, a farmer. But farming did not go well, and with a family to support, he ended up applying for a job at the Larned State Hospital, starting in July of 1989.
He’s worked his way up from trainee to licensed mental health technician; he then went back to school at DCC to become a registered nurse, graduating in 2005. Wanting to try something different, Alfred accepted a position at the Hays Medical Center on the Senior Focused Care unit. He worked a 12-hour shift on nights, but he found he didn’t do well working those hours.
So when a nursing position opened in July of 2012 at LJCF, he applied. Regarding his current position, Alfred said, “I really enjoy my job working with the youth. And I work with a great bunch of people at LJCF.”
When he’s not busy at LJCF or farming, Alfred enjoys spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, their grandchildren, their two dogs, and their cat.
Joyce Link was selected as the Volunteer of the Quarter.
Link’s nomination commended her for being an excellent example of positive mentoring. Referring to her as “Grammaw,” the youth residents at LJCF look to her for support, encouragement, and direction. As a math teacher, her ability to help the students to solve homework problems is especially appreciated. Joyce is a model of good leadership, and a wonderful example of what can be accomplished by community members willing to donate their time to help those in need.