SAUK RAPIDS - Competing against over 50,000 people, Sandy Dilts is this year's Care Giver of the Year Award winner. Dilts is the life enrichment co-director and nurse at the Good Shepherd Community nursing home.

Dilts started at Good Shepherd nearly 45 years ago as an LPN. Since starting at Good Shepherd she's worked in many roles including day nurse, overnight household coordinator, social worker and rehab coordinator.

Through the encouragement of her family Dilts decided to pursue a career in nursing.

"My mother said I had a choice -- either I'd have to be a teacher or a nurse." -Dilts

Dilts says both the nursing and education fields were popular for women to go in to during the 1960s.

LeadingAge Minnesota honored Dilts last month (February) with the award. She was nominated by staff and residents in the Good Shepherd community.

When Dilts was announced as the winner she was speechless.

"I was at a loss for words and I've never in my life been at a loss for words." -Dilts

She says she feels incredibly humbled and thankful for the award.