The employees featured on Hy-Vee trucks sure seem like a friendly bunch and it turns out that they’re not only friendly, but also award-winning. Amanda Jochum, registered dietician at the Hy-Vee on 156th and Maple, now joins the ranks of Legendary Customer Service Award recipients. Hy-Vee has over 62,000 employees across 8 states, and only nine winners are selected annually. In simple terms, this means that Amanda must be doing something right.

Those of us outside of the Hy-Vee culture probably cannot grasp what a big deal for employees this is to receive this honor. It’s not just about getting your face on the trucks (or the recognition, or the ring, or the golden nametag distinguishing you as a Legendary Customer Service Award recipient), but it’s also about being a tangible representation of a company that boasts “a helpful smile in every aisle.” The employees who win this award are people who go out of their way to help everyone around them, and within Hy-Vee circles, it’s a big deal indeed.

Chris Hanlon knows all about winning this award because he won it a few years ago and still proudly wears his golden nametag. “What an honor it is! I’ll wear this nametag for the rest of my life.” With a chuckle he added, “I’ll be going to the grave with it.”

The store’s director is thrilled to have another award winner as this makes two employees from his store who have won in the last four years. Says store director Jim Ewoldt, “Amanda’s work ethic is second to none. She cares about everybody; not only the customers, but also the employees. She’s so passionate about making a difference in people’s lives.”

Coworkers agree that Amanda’s work ethic and personality make her a good choice for this award. Manager Ray Russell explained, “Amanda lives customer service. She’s a great person to be around. She’s always in a good mood.”

Amanda received her award August 24 in a surprise ceremony in the deli section of the Hy-Vee in which she works. Unbeknownst to her, family, friends, customers and coworkers gathered around a decorated table awaiting her arrival. It became apparent as she approached the group that she quickly understood she was about to receive this prestigious award. Perhaps it was the banner with her name on it or the corporate people in suits milling about, but once she realized what was going on she smiled broadly and began hugging people.

“I’m shocked!” she said after the ceremony. “I do my job because I love my job. I love helping people and I love to see how they grow in their health. So really, it’s not that I do anything special. I do my job.”

Her family knew about the award beforehand but had to keep it a secret. Linda Jochum, Amanda’s mother in law, appeared relieved that she no longer had to keep the secret. “I didn’t really call her this week or email her because I knew if I did I would slip somehow. This is so wonderful for her. She deserves it.”

Amanda Jochum serves the Hy-Vee on 156th and Maple: 402.493.0390

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