Nobles County Jail staff is award-winning
WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota Sheriff's Association (MSA) recently awarded two honors of distinction to staff members of the Nobles County Jail, something Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening said shows what kind of caliber the people on his staff...
WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota Sheriff's Association (MSA) recently awarded two honors of distinction to staff members of the Nobles County Jail, something Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening said shows what kind of caliber the people on his staff have.
Monette Soderholm was nominated and elected as Minnesota's Jail Administrator of the Year, and Sgt. Aaron Ahlers was nominated and elected as Minnesota's Jail Supervisor of the Year.
"I feel humbled," Soderholm said. "There are so many people that deserve recognition for the job they do."
She and Wilkening co-wrote the letter nominating Ahlers, who knew nothing about it until he saw the two of them and another staff member walk into the jail pod one morning.
"I didn't know what was going on -- all of a sudden down the hallway they came," Ahlers said with a grin. "I thought I was in trouble."
When told he had won the award, Ahlers said he believed a prank was being played on him. But, according to his supervisors, Ahler's job performance is no joke.
In the letter sent to the MSA, Wilkening and Soderholm describe Ahlers as an exceptional supervisor who looks for challenges and opportunities for growth, one who maintains the highest work ethic by building up co-workers and supporting them during difficult times.
"Patience and good listening skills aid in his success in supervision of staff as well as inmates," the letter states.
Ahlers started working for the Nobles County Jail as a correctional officer in January 2000. He was promoted to Sergeant in March 2004.
"These awards reflect very well on the county," Wilkening said. "Two in one year speaks very highly of how jail professionals around the state look at us."
Wilkening nominated Soderholm and wrote in the nomination letter that she is a positive influence within the jail, not only with staff but also with all people and agencies that deal with the facility.
"Her management style shows a high degree of professionalism," Wilkening wrote. "She holds the staff to a high degree of professionalism and holds them accountable for their actions."
Wilkening said Soderholm inspires staff to do their best and to take pride in their work, gives them recognition they deserve for a job well done and makes sure each staff member has the training they need to complete their job.
Soderholm said she has no idea what prompted the MSA to choose her over any others nominated, but knows the award would not be possible without the kind of staff she supervises. She and Ahlers both said they have received numerous e-mails from colleagues congratulating them on their awards.
"The sheriff has been very supportive," she added. "He challenges us to grow personally and professionally, he supports training and recognizes that empowering staff fosters professionalism. He leads by example. We are pleased that he recognizes our accomplishments."
Soderholm and Ahlers will receive their awards Sept. 21 in Deerwood during an MSA conference.
"It is nice to see them recognized for the work they do," Wilkening said. "The county as a whole should be proud of the people in my office, jail staff and deputies. We thought we had a great staff all along. This just proves it."