A growing Norfolk business celebrated its recognition as part of the Norfolk Area Business Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon.
Jeremy and Kristin Starkel, owners of Right at Home locations in Norfolk, Columbus and Grand Island, accepted the 2021 Emerging Business Award during a small reception at Black Cow Fat Pig.
The award — part of the Norfolk Area Business Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by the Daily News and First National Bank of Omaha in Norfolk — is bestowed upon an enterprise in Northeast Nebraska that has been in existence for five years or fewer.
Right at Home in Norfolk began in June 2019 with only three employees. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current workforce shortage, the Starkels have built their business to serve three communities and now employ about 150 people, including office staff members and caregivers.
Jacob Arkfeld, a senior adviser with First National Bank of Omaha in Norfolk, said the hall of fame award has been given for five years and there are always impressive nominations; Right at Home was the right choice for 2021.
Kristin Starkel credited the business’ office staff for helping build its success: “Without you, we would not be able to grow as much as we have.” She also expressed gratitude for the business’ caregivers “who without them we would be nothing.”
Jeremy Starkel echoed his wife’s sentiment of gratitude as he talked about the decision he and his wife made to go into business after many talks with corporate representatives for Right at Home.
“Kristin and I knew that we were passionate about helping people, and we wanted to do something in the health care field with everything that I went through with my mom and her battle with cancer. Right at Home was pretty much the glowing star right in front of our eyes.”
He highlighted the work of the “rock stars” who make up the Right at Home office staff, as well as the caregivers who do the “hard, heavy lifting” to make a difference in the lives of clients so they can stay in the comfort of their own home.
“We took that plunge 2½ years ago, you guys, and we never expected in a million years to be where we’re at,” he said. “So we’re so humbled and so honored to receive — what a cool award.”