March 27, 2013
The words of praise for George Cobblah were flowing freely.
Charli Ackerman said, “There is good, better and best — and there is George, who is outstanding.” Charlis Allen said he is known as “dedicated, caring and reliable.”
Cobblah, social services director at Four Seasons Living Center, was honored by Crossroads Hospice with its “Caring More” award during a breakfast event Tuesday morning at Hotel Bothwell. The honor recognizes a social worker who exhibits exemplary effort for patients and the community.
Crossroads Hospice Executive Director Janet Hassenflow said Cobblah is “committed to making all residents feel at home.”
To that end, he has recruited more than 20 volunteers to serve as companions for residents.
“George helps residents find peace at the end of life,” Hassenflow said.
Cobblah was nominated for the honor by Ackerman, Pettis County administrator.
Upon hearing about the award, she said, “George was hands down the first person who came to mind. ... He is so deserving.”
Ackerman got to know him when she became administrator in 2004, and said she “can always, always rely on George.”
Allen, resident care coordinator at Four Seasons, shares an office with Cobblah.
“He is very caring to his residents, very dedicated to his job,” she said.
Cobblah began his career at Four Seasons as an intern in 1992. A native of Ghana, he served as a teacher and an insurance underwriter in Africa before moving to Kansas City. He earned his master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Central Missouri and triple majored in economics, sociology and geography at the University of Sciences and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
Cobblah said working 20 years at Four Seasons is an indication of how much he loves his work. He thanked Ackerman for nominating him for the award, and his wife of 26 years, Denise, for her loyalty and patience when he has to start his days early and finish them late.
He also thanked a group who was not present at the breakfast — his residents.
“Every day they teach me a life lesson,” he said. “They want to talk with you, and if you spend time with them, you will learn so much about them. ... Everybody I have met in my life has made me who I am.”
With the award came a $500 donation to the nonprofit organization of the recipient’s choice. Cobblah presented the check to the Sedalia Area Literacy Council, an organization he’s volunteered with as a pen pal for nearly two decades.
He joked that he has been involved so long that “some of my former pen pals have grown taller than me,” but added that students he works with through the council “enrich my life.”
Ackerman said one of her favorite things is to walk through halls of Four Seasons with Cobblah, because “everyone knows him and trusts him.”
Addressing him, she added, “Anyone who has made your acquaintance is blessed for knowing you.”
Cobblah sees the honor as much more than a trophy.
“With this award comes more responsibility,” he said. “It means that I have to be more caring ... I have to advocate for my residents more, and with your help, I know I can do this.”