Casino's human resources office wins award

Oct 12, 2017 From staff reports

The Wind River Hotel and Casino was the recipicient of an award by the National Native American Human Resources Association at their annual conference held in Cherokee, North Carolina, on Sept. 25-27.

The Sam Henny award is given to tribal organizations who offer positive mentorship services to their employees.

When human resources assistant director April Goggles heard the nominations were open, she knew the perfect candidate.

Since 2015, the Wind River Hotel and Casino Wellness Program in partnership with White Buffalo Recovery Center, has provided support services to the Wind River Hotel and Casino employees and community members. The program offers individual counseling, drug and alcohol evaluations, relapse prevention, DUI classes and talking circles.

"I'm really proud of what our wellness program has done," Goggles said.

In her application, Goggles submitted anonymous testimonials from individuals who took part in the program to help battle their alcohol and drug addictions.

One that stuck out was written by an individual who decided they needed help making lifestyle changes and wanted to be a healthier individual.

"They took complete control of their health," Goggles said. "We're making a difference. We're having an impact on the individuals. It's like a ripple effect."

One that spreads.

Wellness Program director Bill Sage said for every individual you help, it passes on to 200 other people they come in contact with including coworkers, family and friends.

"It's just a good feeling to know that we can provide a service to the community," He said. "There is a need here."

Learning of the news, Sage said him and his staff were surprised but also excited about the award.

"It was really something," he said. "We're all happy here. It's a huge team effort behind all this."

The award is named after Sanda "Sam" Lois Henny who was a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Tribal Development Manager and Trainer at the Spirit Mountain Casino located in Oregon. Before her death in 2012, Henny was an advocate for human resources training within Indian Country and a past board member of the National Native American Human Resources Association. Founded in 1996, NNAHRA is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing professional services to tribes through trainings, resource sharing and networking.

This year, close to 600 individuals from all over Indian country attended the conference, Goggles said. After the awards ceremony, organization leaders asked Goggles if they could share information on their website about the wellness program to their members since Wind River is the only tribal business with an in-house wellness program. The whole experience has humbled Goggles and the work her office is doing.

"It's an honor," she said.

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