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.



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.





Jennifer Ponfil, RN, Director of Nursing

Jenny is the Director of Nursing at St. Jospeh Residence. She earned her associates degree in nursing at NWTC and her bachelor’s degree at Concordia University.

She is passionate about the aging population and worked 13 years in long-term care as a CNA. Her love of long-term care and passion for learning was the driving force for continuing her education and becoming a Registered Nurse (RN).

She brings to St. Joseph Residence experience in long-term care, hospital medical / surgical unit, oncology and hospice care. She considers herself a lifelong learner and is certified in wound care and oncology.

She is committed to ensuring that the residents of St. Joseph Residence receive the best possible care and that their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met.

Jenny calls Oshkosh home but values the tight knit community of New London. She is proud to be part of the team that offers top-notch rehab and nursing services in the New London area.

In her spare time she enjoys being out on the water sailing, reading and spending time with her granddaughter.


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.


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.



The Washington Center

Lana Diem, Resident Service Director

Lana Diem is the Resident Service Director at The Washington Center. She feels blessed with the opportunity to be a part of this beautiful community.

Before joining the St Joseph’s team, Lana worked on the medical / surgical unit at the local hospital as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Prior to that, she worked as a Resident Assistant at the Washington Center as well as working as a CNA at St. Joseph Residence in the long-term care unit.

Lana feels very fortunate to work with the elderly population at the Washington Center where she has been able to build unforgettable bonds with the residents and their families. It brings Lana great joy to hear stories of the past, while gaining wisdom and learning life lessons from the seniors.

Lana was born and raised in New London, where she currently resides with her husband Trevor and their three daughters.  Family is very important to Lana and she enjoys spending time with her vary large extended family, camping and traveling.