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updated: 5/21/2014 2:35 PM

St. Charles woman captures Marklund's Employee of the Year award

St. Charles woman named Marklund's Employee of the Year

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  • Rose Vicker, center, receives the Claire Haverkampf Award as Marklund's Employee of the Year. She's joined by Marklund CEO Gil Fonger, left, and board member Jeff Cook.

      Rose Vicker, center, receives the Claire Haverkampf Award as Marklund's Employee of the Year. She's joined by Marklund CEO Gil Fonger, left, and board member Jeff Cook.
    Courtesy of Marklund

By Cole Paler

Rose Vicker has affected the lives of hundreds of individuals with disabilities while working as a physical therapy assistant at Marklund, a nonprofit organization that serves adults and children with severe disabilities.

With her 30 years of dedication and compassion for individuals in this population, she recently received the Claire Haverkampf Award as Marklund's Employee of the Year.

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Named after the organization's founder, the award was established to honor a Marklund employee who demonstrates the character embodied and modeled by Haverkampf. It allows Marklund to recognize an individual who compassionately matches every part of Marklund's culture and has consistently demonstrated these values throughout 10 or more years of employment.

Vicker joined Marklund in 1984 as an aide at the Marklund Children's Home in Bloomingdale, then became a group home parent from 1997 through 2000. Today, the St. Charles resident spends her time with clients at Marklund's Geneva campus.

Vicker's impact on the clients starts with the many ways she improves their self-esteem while helping them accomplish their goals. She encourages them to walk and stand to build their strength and mobility -- both on land and in the aquatic therapy pool. She teaches them the skills needed to drive a power wheelchair and gain freedom of movement. Additionally, she empowers the staff with the proper education to execute physical therapy goals.

"When my name was called, a heavy amount of emotion came over me," Vicker said. "I thought about my first client, Jen, and how I wish she could have been there with me to accept the award. I was so appreciative of Marklund and the direction and support they have given me. They have given me the opportunity to work with wonderful people and have helped me go above and beyond."

The award is voted on by Marklund staff through a nomination process and the winner is selected by a committee from Marklund's board of directors. Vicker accepted the award from board member Jeff Cook at the annual employee recognition dinner at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club in West Chicago.

"Rose has the clients walking, dancing, standing, riding bikes and driving their wheelchairs, and during all this, she makes sure the clients are having fun," said Jalpa Pandya, director of therapy services at Marklund. "I'm so happy that Rose won this prestigious award. She is truly an inspiration to us all. If Claire Haverkampf were alive today, I know they would be best of buddies, working side by side and giving their all for the clients they love."

For more about Marklund's events, visit

Marklund is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that makes everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities. Marklund annually serves nearly 200 families throughout the greater Chicago area.

The organization features three sites: the Marklund at Mill Creek campus in Geneva, Marklund Philip Center for Children and the Marklund Day School in Bloomingdale, and the Marklund Resale Store in Wood Dale.

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