Robert A. "Mike" Reitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Genesis HealthCare, was honored with the Helen S. Schulze Award at the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Maryland Chapter’s recent Making Connections Dementia Conference.
Pizza Hut of Maryland, Inc. presented the award, along with a $5,000 gift in Reitz’s name to the Greater Maryland Chapter to further support research efforts. The award is named for Helen Schulze, who with her husband, Bob, bought the Pizza Hut franchise for the greater Baltimore area.
After opening the first restaurant in 1972, the couple expanded the franchise to over 50 stores. Helen was an integral part of its success before developing memory problems in the 1990s. She succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2007.
In her memory and in keeping with the vision of the Alzheimer’s Association, Pizza Hut of Maryland, Inc. annually provides the award to a dedicated supporter of the Greater Maryland Chapter.
“I am honored to receive this award,” Reitz said. “My relationship with the Greater Maryland Chapter dates back to 1988 and has been tremendously fulfilling.”
With over 35 years of experience in operations, Reitz began his career with Meridian Healthcare as a nursing center administrator. He served as a regional director and VP of operations and later developed human resource functions and other corporate support functions for Meridian.
When Meridian was acquired by Genesis in 1993, he was named president of the Mid-Atlantic Region and became responsible for operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He was named COO in 2003.
His extensive management experience also proved invaluable in guiding the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Maryland Chapter. He was instrumental in developing most of the governance and finance policies which continue to guide the Chapter today. As nominating chair and then board president, he also recruited and developed strong board leaders.
“The Alzheimer's Association has been fortunate to have excellent volunteer leaders. Mike Reitz stands out among the exceptional ones,” said Cass Naugle, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Maryland Chapter. “His strong management skills laid a strong foundation for our growing organization and he was a wonderful mentor to me.”
After serving the maximum three terms, Reitz left the Association board in 1994. In 2005, the Cockeysville resident re-joined and served as the treasurer and finance chair, providing prudent leadership over the organization’s finances during the challenging years of the recession.
Through all the years of his involvement and continuing today, Genesis Healthcare has been one of the Alzheimer’s Association’s most generous corporate sponsors. Its employees from facilities throughout Maryland also have been enduring and enthusiastic fundraisers for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s®.
“It has been deeply meaningful to work with our Board members, many of whom have struggled personally with caring for family members affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” Reitz added. “These are people who are passionate about the Chapter’s mission and work hard to impact funding for research, promoting advocacy and supporting caregivers.”
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. For more information, visit www.alz.org/maryland or call 1.800.272.3900.