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.
Kathy Klein, Client Care Director
Kathy Klein joined our FPS team back in 2017 as our Client Care Director. Kathy is the "feet on the ground" responsible for maintaining and supervising the care provided to our clients. She is out and about checking in on clients and our caregiving team to bridge the gap and make sure they feel supported. Kathy comes to FPS with an abundance of nursing and medical experience. She started as the nurse discharge planner at St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates. In addition, she spent over 25 years in outside medical sales focusing on cardiology.
Kathy and her husband, Gary, have a daughter who is the true passion of their lives. Their daughter performed in several Chicago venues , was a pageant participant in Miss Illinois, and was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. They love traveling to NYC to see her perform. Kathy’s other passion is their beautiful English Springer Spaniel, Molly.
When Kathy is not working or spending time with her daughter, you can find her staying busy with one of her many hobbies. (Don’t ask us how she fits it all in.) Kathy loves being in and around the water. She enjoys sailing and is a certified scuba diver. She also loves some quiet time reading. Interesting fact, she started her own book club 16 years ago and is currently the President of the Inverness Women’s Book Club which has been around since 1954. It has nearly 200 members at this point. As if that wasn’t enough, she also enjoys crafts including quilting, machine embroidery, card making, and beading.
Randi Hartmann, Operations Coordinator
Randi attended the University of Illinois. She spent over 23 years in the metal industry helping ensure a top quality product and excellent customer service. Over the last 5 years, Randi worked for a privately owned/family operated outdoors fishing, camping and hunting manufacture. She believes that relationship building, open communication and customer service are keys to being successful in any environment.
Randi is happily married and resides in Arlington Heights.