The core of why we opened For Papa’s Sake was centered around my father, Harry Picker (or better known as Papa to his grandkids). I spent most days at the nursing home with him as his health declined. Papa was our everything. He was an entertainer, a loving father, a comedian, an adored grandfather, a singer, a brother and so much more. Even towards the end of his life, he was determined to make us laugh. When we decided to dedicate our business to him, we wanted to keep his spirit with us. We recognize that often times, we can’t change the circumstance. We can’t change that mom or dad needs help, but we can do everything we can to put a smile on their face. We can go above and beyond to ensure family members have what they need, plus some.
Ellen Simon, Owner
For Papa’s Sake is Ellen’s most treasured professional accomplishment. She takes great pride and works tirelessly to match the needs of her clients with the skills and personalities of our caregivers. When asked what sets her company apart from her competitors, it has to be Ellen’s determination and genuine interest in making sure that both physical and emotional needs are equally being met for her clients. Ellen firmly believes that in addition to being a service for her clients, For Papa’s Sake is a vital support system for the families that are going through the challenges of caring for their aging loved one. She maintains an ever present and ongoing relationship with her clients and caregivers genuinely caring about each one of them as she would her very own family members.
In addition to running her successful business, Ellen serves as a Commissioner on Wheeling’s Board of Health as an advocate for healthy living. She also participates at many local community events that focus on health and senior related concerns.
Ellen’s hobbies include yoga, traveling, reading, theater and spending cuddle time with her Shih Tzu, Bissel and granddaughter, Hazel.
Robert Simon, Owner
Robert is an integral part of our support system. Keeping well informed about each of our client cases and working closely with Ellen and their staff, he creates a real “team” approach to running their business. Robert oversees all of the financial aspects of For Papa’s Sake, but his #1 priority is being the necessary liaison between our clients, caregivers and the FPS office staff. He actively ensures everyone’s concerns and needs are being met. With firsthand knowledge of the issues our families are dealing with, he makes it his mission to listen, understand and facilitate wherever he can. Robert’s mom suffered from Alzheimer’s, so he easily relates to the frustrations, challenges and heartbreak of having a loved one afflicted with debilitating issues and how it impacts the entire family.
In his limited free time, Robert can be found at the gym pumping iron or relishing time with his five grandchildren, Jacob, Julianna, Hazel, Annette and Jack.
Becky Reel, Executive Director
Becky brings over 10 years of marketing and operations experience to For Papa’s Sake. Becky received her undergraduate from Columbia College in Chicago focusing on media management and communications and Masters in Business Administration from Lake Forest College.
In Becky’s free time, you can find her at a dog park with husband, Chris, daughter, Hazel and their dog-sons, Arthur and Doug.
Kristyn Gemszi, Operations Director
As our Operations Director, Kristyn oversees the day-to-day operations to ensure everything is running smoothly from the back-end office. Kristyn completed her undergrad at Eastern Illinois University with a focus in Psychology. Kristyn has a passion for helping others and is committed to providing an excellent customer service experience for our clients and caregivers.
Kristyn’s dedication to helping others goes beyond her work at FPS, where she volunteers for organizations she cares about. Kristyn spends several hours a week as a Crisis Counselor for a free text service for those in crisis, as well as assists during various events for a local domestic violence shelter.During her downtime, Kristyn enjoys going to the movies, trying her hand at a new DIY craft and snuggling with her three kitties.
Elaine Tomko, Operations Manager
Elaine joined FPS in September of 2018. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services with minors in Holistic Health and Health Informatics and Information Management.
She enjoys reading, going to the movies, being outdoors, and traveling.
Robin Zazove, LCPC, CDP Care Director
Robin brings 12+ years of experience in the healthcare industry to FPS. She went to the University of Kansas for undergrad and has earned masters’ degrees in College Student Affairs (Eastern Illinois University) and Clinical Psychology (Roosevelt University).
Robin is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). She has worked in hospice, skilled nursing facilities, memory care, and private practice. Robin believes in helping our clients, and their families, navigate aging and end-of-life challenges with dignity and support by listening and learning each clients unique needs.
Natalie Blaze, Operations Coordinator
Natalie has spent the last seventeen years working in the Early Childhood industry. She received her degree in Early Childhood Education from Rasmussen University. While she loved being an integral part of children’s lives throughout the years, she is excited to be part of helping the elderly and those in need of a little extra care.
Natalie is an avid sports fan, most notable a HUGE Chicago Bears fan! She love being outdoors in any capacity. She also values family time so spending quality time with her family is important.