Exceptional Staff

Executive Director / CEO

Gidget Blank

Gidget began, what would become her career and life’s passion, nearly 20 years ago, working in the laundry department of a long term care facility.  Within a short time of employment, she realized how special the residents were and the importance of the relationships the residents had with the staff.

Gidget worked various positions in this facility throughout the years. She held the position of business office manager for several years, assisting families with their finances and insurance. In 2007, Gidget successfully completed the UW-Madison Nursing Home Administration Program and obtained her nursing home administrator license.  With her continuing education, experience, and outgoing personality, Gidget was promoted to Nursing Home Administrator at the company’s sister facility and has been an administrator since.

It’s important to Gidget that each day we strive for excellence, we provide service that enhances the quality of life of those we care for, and that our elderly feel loved, independent, and always treated with dignity, and respect. She believes a smile, a hug, love and compassion, are the best gifts one person can give to another.

Gidget was raised in the Hortonville and New London area. She has lived and raised her family in Marion since 1996.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and their grown children, reading, and listening to music.



Jordan Thompson, Activity Director & Volunteer Coordinator

Jordan has been around the world and has worked with a variety of different populations while having a heavy focus in the non-profit and educational fields. His journey of non-profit work started by working at a local summer camp in Wild Rose, as a dishwasher for the summer and then deciding to stay on. Jordan used this opportunity of summer camps to travel around the United States working in multiple facets of camping ministries during the summers and returning to Wisconsin to attend classes at the University of Wisconsin: River Falls. Upon graduating, Jordan made the decision to travel abroad and moved to Japan where he resided for 5 years working for two different companies as the program manager, designing and implementing English programs. 楽しかった ! (Tanoshiikatta! = It was fun!)

Jordan moved back to the United States in 2016 and came back to his roots in central Wisconsin. For over two years, Jordan worked with the boys at Rawhide Boys Ranch.

Now, he is a happy homeowner in New London and is looking forward to his future and enriching the lives of the people in this community.

He has a plethora of hobbies and experience with various activities; just ask him about them sometime. Jordan is very excited to help people live enjoyable lives through faith, comradery, games, music, and activities.


Alicia Salinas, Pastoral Care

Alicia’s love and compassion for the elderly drew her to St. Joseph Residence in 2013 where she became a volunteer. In 2015 she became an assistant in the Activities Department. As a devout Catholic, Alicia’s passion and desire to spread the love of Jesus lead her to her current role as Spiritual Care Coordinator.

Alicia’s mission is to put a smile on someone’s face each and every day. Alicia motto is “It doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going.”

Alicia, her husband and two children moved to New London in 1998 and are proud to be a part of the community. In her free time Alicia enjoys listening to music, dancing (in her kitchen), traveling and spending quality time with her family.




Laurie Shaw, Director of Administrative Services

Laurie began her career in the non-profit sector over 20 years ago at Rawhide Boys Ranch, a faith based charity that assists at risk youth, she greatly enjoyed overseeing the fast paced vehicle program office within the organization and helping shape the lives of youth.

In 1996, Laurie began an 11-year tenure as the Executive Director at the New London Area Chamber of Commerce where she proudly served our local community by assisting area businesses and organizations achieve success.

Laurie currently serves as the New London – Weyauwega Joint Municipal Court Judge. Laurie sees it as a unique way to make a positive impact on our community.

February 1, 2017, Laurie began a new phase in her life’s work by joining the team at St. Joseph’s Residence as the Director of Administrative Services. Laurie is excited to use skills attained over her career to make an impact at St. Joseph Residence. She is responsible for managing Human Resources, accounts payable, accounts receivable and customer service.

Laurie was born and raised in New London. She enjoys spending time with her two daughters and son in law, her extended family (who all live in the New London area) and many great friends. She is a passionate volunteer for many local causes and enjoys contributing the betterment of our community.



Rick McGrath, Food Service Manager

Rick is the Dietary Manager at St. Joseph Residence. His philosophy is to serve individuals without restriction through a choice of foods, dining times and a diversified menu.

He leads his team by example and strives to empower and brighten the days of the residents’ lives through person-centered dining.

He is married and has three children. Rick is a visionary in Food Service and is always looking to make a better product! He is committed to making quality food from scratch and maintains a freshness that is unmatched amongst our competitors.

He has worked for St. Joseph Residence for over 10 years and looks forward to continuing his service.




Tracy Elsner, Maintenance Director

Tracey is a skilled maintenance worker who has been with St. Joseph Residence since 2009. She manages all routine, reparative, and preventive maintenance along with grounds work.

Tracey enjoys her job and the interaction with residents and staff. She is dedicated to provide a safe environment for all, along with prompt quality work.

Tracey is married and has one daughter. In her free time Tracey and her daughter compete in barrel racing and other speed events.

When she is not “horsin around” she enjoys spending time with family and friends.





Heather Ott, RN, Director of Nursing

Heather is the Director of Nursing and joined the St. Joseph Residence team in 2016.

She earned her BSN from Marian university and brought 9 years of acute health care experience from Theda Clark hospital in Neenah.

Heather has a passion for continuous learning and teaching. She strongly feels health care is ever changing. There is always something new to learn and teach to others. Heather is excited to share her knowledge and passion for helping others in the community where she was born and raised.

Heather and her husband Aaron have three young children and are happy to be raising them in New London. She enjoys spending time on the Wolf River and taking her kids camping all around the Wisconsin area. Heather looks forward to her career with SJR and the opportunities for growth.


Dawn Chaplin, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing

Dawn is the Assistant Director of Nursing for St. Joseph’s Residence.

Dawn started her career in nursing as a CNA at long-term care, then went on to earn her degree as a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2007. She worked as an RN for over 11 years on the Medical-Surgical floor at ThedaCare Medical Center New London. She has 3 years of experience as a Clinical RN Lead and is excited to use her knowledge, experience and leadership skills in her Assistant Director of Nursing (DON) role here at St. Joseph Residence.

Dawn believes in providing excellent nursing care and values the importance of making the residents feel at home. She is looking forward to supporting staff so that they learn and grow their skillset. Dawn’s goal is to have a confident, well-educated and effective team to care for residents.

Outside of work, Dawn enjoys spending time with her family and creating memories with her loved ones.


Beth Buffum, Admissions / Social Worker Assistant

While growing up Beth and her family had the privilege of caring for her Grandmother in their home until her passing. This inspired Beth to seek work as a CNA at the age 16. Over the years she worked with disabled children in their homes as well as seniors in long term care settings. Throughout her twenty-year career her heart has kept her in long term care serving residents and their families.

Six years ago Beth was drawn to St. Joseph Residence and began working as a night shift CNA. Her natural abilities and strong work ethic earned her a promotion and she became a CNA trainer. She was responsible for teaching CNA’s how to provide the best possible care to residents. Her skill set and compassion soon earned her another promotion. Beth advanced to the Social Services Department where she serves families as and admission coordinator and social worker assistant.

Beth considers it a privilege to serve the residents and their families during their time with St. Joseph Residence. Acting as a resident advocate Beth enjoys developing trust and a strong bond during a family’s time of need. She knows it can be difficult to navigate the paperwork that comes with admission and is happy to help families through the process. She enjoys being the point of contact for the residents and families ensuring that all their questions are answered and their needs are met.

Beth is from the Shawano / Bonduel area and has three children. She is active with the Alzheimer’s Association and is an avid Badger and Packer’s fan. She enjoys shopping, listening to music & dancing, attending her children’s extra-curricular actives, traveling and enjoys the outdoors.


Susan Kennis, BSW Social Worker

Susan started volunteering when she was 14, in a hospital in her hometown of Phoenix, AZ. She remembers being excited to turn 15, because that is when she could start volunteering at the long-term care facility associated with the hospital. Susan has always had a special place on her heart for the elderly.

Susan has worked in some type of customer service her entire career as she truly enjoys talking with, and getting to know people from different walks of life.

Later in life, Susan discovered Social Work and decided to go back to school at the age of 40 to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She says, “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I am excited to be able to use my gift of connecting with people. I have a passion for advocating for, and working with vulnerable members of the population, and I always knew I wanted to do something to help marginalized people.”

Susan is married, and she and her husband have two children. In her spare time, she and her family enjoy camping, fishing, riding ATVs, and getting muddy. Susan is also an amateur nature photographer and enjoys nature hikes.


Trinity Terrace & The Washington Center

Gwenn Radtke, RN Care Coordinator

In Gwenn’s mid-life, “multiple nurse relatives” influenced and encouraged her to further her education by attending the Fox Valley Technical College’s Registered Nurse program. Gwenn is proud to be an RN graduate and is grateful she pursued her dream.

Gwenn began attaining her health care knowledge by working in the acute care unit at ThedaCare Medical Center in New London. Most recently, Gwenn worked as an RN serving our veterans at the Veterans Home in King.

As the RN care coordinator, Gwenn is excited to bring knowledge gained from years of acute care and long-term care nursing to the residents of Trinity Terrace and The Washington Center. Her goal is to oversee the residents’ medical needs so that they can continue to be successful while living independently. Gwenn is excited to build relationships with residents and their families and plans to focus on good communication and goal setting.

Gwenn was born and raised in New London and currently lives in Weyauwega with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her family is very important to her and she enjoys spending time with them. She is encouraged by their hard work and is proud of their accomplishments. She loves spending time on the water either boating or sitting on the beach.


Trinity Terrace

Sharen Friedrich, Resident Service Director

Sharen Friedrich, is the Resident Service Director at Trinity Terrace Assisted Living. She feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for St. Joseph’s Campus.

Before joining St. Joseph’s, she was the director for two Alzheimer’s Units at Pine Manor Health Care in Embarrass for 15 years.

She enjoys working with the elderly, she has learned many things listening to my elders. Their stories of their lives are amazing.

A little about Sharen, she was raised in the little town of Marion, Wi.

And has been married to her husband Steve for 31 years and lives in Clintonville, Wi.They have no children, they just got a new puppy in December 2016, it is a girl and her name is Molly.



Washington Center

Kristen Meyer, BSW, Resident Service Director

Kristen was drawn to social work and helping the elderly when her beloved Grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She knew that she could make a difference in the lives of seniors and their families as they navigate through their aging journeys. She considers it an honor to be able to provide care and direction throughout the process.

The fact that St. Joseph Residence is a Christian organization gives Kristen the opportunity to provide Christ centered leadership for her staff as well as care for residents and their families. She notes that working for such a wonderful religious organization keeps her morals and values in check and encourages her while she works to serve others.

Kristen and her wonderful husband, Gene, reside in Clintonville. Together they have raised six children and have three grandchildren.

In her free time, Kristen raises Cavalier King Charles dogs and Quarter horses that she barrel races in the regional rodeo circuit.