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It's often been said that no one can or could give a facility tour like Paul Diaz. Paul was CEO of Kindred Healthcare for 10 years and is now a board member. Paul made a great impact on families and employees alike, which is why every year Kindred honors outstanding employees for going above and beyond with this special award in his name.

This year, there were 110 nominations from all Kindred divisions across the country. It's a long and challenging task to go through 110 applications, but at today's Clinical Impact Symposium, that list was narrowed down to two individuals.

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There's Leigh Talley, a physical therapist for Kindred at Home - Louisville, who gets wonderful outcomes and is beloved by her patients. Leigh realizes that her patients are often impacted by things that aren't physical. She's admired for her ability to look at the entire picture when she evaluates a patient in her care.

"I love this job because in home health care you can wear many hats," said Leigh. "When I'm in their home, patients open up more, they share more, and I give a listening ear to help."

Leigh has been known to run errands, buy grandkids' baby formula, and even buy groceries for her patients.

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Then there's the second nominee, charge nurse Clarie Nicholson, originally from Belize, who has worked in Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation - Nampa located in Nampa, Idaho, for more than 35 years.

Co-workers say Clarie is an amazing, well-loved person. Even on her days off it's common to see her at the facility checking on the patients and employees she calls family. "This is where God placed me," she said. "I have this whole building of people that I need to care for."

Clarie was brought to the U.S. at a young age by a missionary who helped put her through school. Years later, no one is surprised that Clarie is now that same missionary's caregiver.

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"I'm helping others, and that's my main goal. And I love it."

Esmeralda Valencia, Clarie's co-worker, says Clarie is well known in the community for her compassion.

Ultimately it was impossible to choose between these employees who so embody the qualities of first-rate, patient-centered care. So both Clarie and Leigh won Paul Diaz Caring Awards this year. The recipients were met with warm recognition for their care and a standing ovation from the CIS audience.

"I'm proud to be associated with people like you," Chief Operating Officer Kent Wallace said.

Please continue to follow the Clinical Impact Symposium 2016 on the Kindred Continuum and on Twitter @KindredHealth.

*Each year the Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium focuses on a topic to enhance clinical practice in the post-acute continuum and to maintain Kindred as a leader in clinical excellence. This eighth symposium focuses on pain management across the continuum. At this week's symposium, held in Louisville, Kentucky, national speakers discuss these topics broadly, while internal speakers bring it home to Kindred attendees from across the country.