Leading with HEART: Cove Core Values Shine Through This Award Winner

History of the HEART Award

The Cove HEART Award Comes to Life in Sarasota, Florida

HEART is an acronym, in which each letter represents one of the Cove Communities values. Serving with Hospitality, Delivering Excellence, Exuding Passion, Cultivating Trust, Being Stewards of our Surroundings, and Producing every act with Kindness. This award is reserved for the employee that exemplifies these core values by enhancing the daily lives of our residents and guests, consistently giving back to the community, and ultimately making a difference in the world we live in. You can count on this recipient to lead the industry by putting people first and by conducting business the right way.

Acts Of Kindness


Did you know that when you give a genuine compliment it actually helps you feel happier and can even improve your overall health? When we commit an act of kindness, our brains release oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “hug hormone” giving you that bright, happy feeling inside. If you have had the pleasure to meet Pastor Ricky Russell, you have felt the hug hormone effect first hand. His actions define the heart of our operation as he exudes the values of Cove Communities. We want to share his exemplary actions with the world and give him the same heartfelt care that he gives to all of us so freely.

Hospitality: We love what we do, and it shows.

Ricky Russell and Resident
Hospitality Comes Naturally For Pastor Ricky Russell

Ricky is a marketing guru, community leader, emcee, corporate pastor, talented singer and so much more. He has the power to bring people together through authentic human connection. His work brought him to Sarasota, Florida and more specifically, to Camelot East Village and Camelot Lakes Village. Ricky dedicated his time and voice to singing the National Anthem at our Veteran Appreciation events and has created a lasting impression, especially being that he is a war veteran himself. That impression was so impressive in fact, that he became the face of the community as the first person that gives you a wave and a bright smile when you drive through the gates.

Passion: We make every moment count.

Camelot East Village Looking Majestic At Twilight

When Gail Sterling, (community manager at Camelot East Village) first met Ricky Russell, his instinct to serve shined so brightly, he knew he would be a wonderful fit for the community. Gail hired him as soon as possible to work in the Guard House, but Ricky found it much more fitting to give it the name ‘Courtesy House’.  As soon as Pastor Ricky revamped the culture of the Courtesy Patrol team, everyone noticed a difference in how well they worked together and how much they truly enjoy what they do. As soon as he stepped in to his role as Courtesy Lead, the entire team had a dedicated empowered role to enact for the community.

Excellence: We raise the bar.

Ricky and The Camelot East Gang

Community members and colleagues alike describe Pastor Ricky as a “great employee regardless of what could be happening in his personal life”, “always spreading cheer and good thoughts with everyone he meets”, “his actions are not surprising because it is his character; it’s just who he is to help”. Every day he tries to engage with our residents in a new way in order to make them smile and make sure they are treated with the utmost care. He responds to this by saying he is grateful for being a representative of an amazing company that empowers him to strive for excellence.

Trustworthiness: We consistently do the right thing.

Happy Employees Translate to Happy Guests and Residents

It’s all about the residents” This is Ricky’s response for all the accolades he receives. “I’ve always loved to help people, especially seniors – and every day I feel like a renewed spirit because of the trust granted to me.”

Stewardship: We value the world and care for it.

Camelot East Village Clubhouse with Pool and Lake in Background

Pastor Ricky has been doing the important work of officiating funeral services and delivering impactful sermons. Residents trust Pastor Ricky when he promises to look after loved ones. At 8:30am on April 15th, Mr. Jim Philips, a 99-year-old resident who receives dialysis weekly in order to stay alive, was having severe kidney pain; he immediately called Pastor Ricky. Without a second thought he rushed Mr. Phillips to the hospital where the doctors were told to treat Ricky as if he were his own son and to give him any updates on his condition. On behalf of Jim’s wife, Norma and all his family members, Pastor Ricky stayed until 3pm that afternoon to speak to the surgeon who informed him that without Ricky’s springing in to action, this man would have died of kidney failure. Norma Phillips was overwhelmed with emotion when she said, “I have never seen a staff member do anything remotely like this; Ricky is a genuine gift.”

Kindness: We follow the golden rule.

Community Manager, Gail Sterling, Presents Ricky Russell with the Coveted HEART Award

Near the end of my conversation with Pastor Ricky Russell he told me about how he bought Mother’s Day cards and hand delivered them to residents. One woman was brought to tears and told him she has never met an employee who treated her like family. This is just one small example and he calls these little moments his “Random Acts of Kindness” always repeating the mantra that residents are number one. After meeting Ricky and speaking with colleagues and residents, I have to laugh and say these acts aren’t “random” at all – they truly resonate from the heart. Congratulations and thank you for your service Pastor Ricky Russell; we hope you accept this award along with our utmost gratitude for guiding your actions from the HEART.