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Brandon Rotary honors Lisa Stark as '2015 MVE'

BRANDON — Lisa Stark loves her job.

For 22 years she has gone to work in the kitchen at the Brookdale Brandon Assisted Living Facility with a smile on her face and a positive attitude.

That passion was just one of the reasons the Brandon Rotary '86 club gave Stark its 2015 Most Valuable Employee award.

Stark was nominated by her sister and former Brandon Rotary '86 president Jeni Eldridge, who says Stark is always eager to go above and beyond despite her sister's challenges with the genetic disorder Williams Syndrome.

Williams Syndrome which is present at birth, affects approximately 1 in 10,000 people across the world and can lead to medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Stark doesn't dwell on her disorder, and instead makes those who meet her forget about it with a friendly smile and an infectious laugh.

"She works harder than most people I know and always goes in with a smile on her face," Eldridge said. "The simple fact that she has worked there for over 20 years is enough, but she goes out of her way to make a difference and really loves her job."

Each application for this year's award was reviewed by a committee of Rotary '86 members to ensure that they meet three requirements; nominees cannot be a Rotary member, they cannot be a spouse or child of a member and they cannot be in management.

"We have a number of nominees each year," club member Jeff Miltner said. "This year, when we saw the nomination for Lisa we said 'this one,' and we didn't have to go any further."

Stark received a plaque, Rotary medal and gift card in a surprise presentation during the July 10 meeting.

"She represents our club theme this year of being a gift to the world," Miltner said.

Stark began working at the facility after attending a high school program for students with disabilities.

"I really love it," Stark said. "My job is fun and I've been there through good times and bad times, but I just keep on truckin'. "

Contact Kelsey Sunderland at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

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