A Destiny Fulfilled #259 …( 2000)


Colony Park

Colony Park

 Six weeks had expired when destiny made its  appearances in the form of a help wanted section in the Modesto Bee.  Colony Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a 99 bed skilled nursing facility located less than two miles from Gary’s Blue Daisy Way residence on E. Orangeburg Ave was in need of a full-time Maintenance Supervisor.  Gary jumping at the chance,  submitting an edited resume’ to Colony Park  deciding not to  include he was currently employed at Wal-Mart,  discerning it might be a detriment considering  the other positions he had held in the past.  To account for his employment time in California he listing his last employment reference as working for Sierra Management Corporation in Groveland, the company name of one of his sister Kay’s LLC, calling to give her a heads-up that she might receive a call from Colony Park.  His notification  wasn’t in vain, Kay having received a call from the Administrator at Colony Park,  giving her brother a notable but honest recommendation.   The call from Colony Park to Gary was forth-coming, requesting him to be present for an interview the following afternoon.

Arden Bennett – CEO of Healthcare Management Inc.

Gary was somewhat apprehensive but confident arriving at Colony Park, appropriately attired in a sports coat and tie at his appointed time.  Entering  he noticed two others who appeared to be waiting applicants dressed in jeans seated in the lobby awaiting their interview opportunity.  Gary directed to the administrator’s office being introduced to three gentlemen,  the Colony Park administrator Dave Yarborough,  Brad Kikuta, a corporate vice president and Arden Bennett, the CEO of  the eleven facilities that comprised Health Care Management Corporation.   Gary soon found his questioning being conducted, not by the administrator of the facility or the corporate vice president,  but by Arden Bennett, the Corporate CEO.   Bennett explaining the facility had some difficulty the administrator having hired four maintenance supervisors in the past year, none proving satisfactory and that the Colony Park was entering a new phase, it was to be the first Health Care Management facility to apply for JCAHO, (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization) membership.   Gary couldn’t believe what he was hearing as was very familiar with the organization having worked with JCAHO representatives during his tenure as president of the Kansas Hospital Engineers Association.    He related his experience to the CEO,  that as a member and president of the KHEA Association he attended many JCAHO seminars and had written hospital maintenance policies to JCAHO specifications.  Questioned about his maintenance experience, he concluded he was versed in all aspects of healthcare facility maintenance from the operation and maintenance of the physical plant to the intricacy of servicing patient care equipment.

Gary leaving the interview confident, his answer coming after a two-day wait, David Yarborough calling asking how soon he could start, that he could commence his orientation immediately,  then the disappointing news,  Gary’s request for $16.00 an hour was rejected relegated to  accepting $12.50 as a starting wage.   The afternoon found Gary traversing to Wal-Mart to address his departure, meeting with the congeal Human Resource lady,  turning in his time card, apologizing for such a short notice of his departure,  explaining that he had found a better opportunity,  her smile relieving his displeasure for not fulfilling his obligation,  her reply “this happens to us all the time.”

Gary at his home away from home —– work

Gary’s vista having risen,  his employment at Colony Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center giving him a contingency to affirm his twenty years plus experience as a hospital engineer.   He soon  discovered the healthcare facility void of anyone with comprehensive knowledge of the structural plant systems including his acquired maintenance assistant Reyes Hernandez, who directed him on a tour of  the building and premises.    The 99 bed skilled nursing facility maintained a staff numbering over 120, with a continuing 90 plus residents census.  The building encompassing  four wings in the shape of an X,  one wing  a locked down certified Alzheimer’s unit equipped with a keypad exit but also with a fire alarm release mechanism for the door and the units patio gate.   The building  encompassing 32 restrooms and six shower stalls,  plus the  department offices,  dining and activity rooms.  Gary finding his only disappointment, expecting an updated facility,  but discovering the building was built in 1964 and lacked few improvement since that era.  The upside to his work environment,  the yard work was contracted out,  no mowing and the total lawn area was on an automated sprinkler system.    His designated office was in  16 x 42 ft. shop northeast of the building accommodating a storage area for maintenance, housekeeping,  custodial and laundry supplies.  The shop was in total disarray without organization,  an electric wall heater for winter and a swamp cooler for summer.   Gary’s first priority was to make it presentable,  giving a semblance of organization, inquiring and receiving a computer for the virtuous tasks that he knew were on the horizon, Reyes, or Ray as he preferred Gary’s maintenance assistant had been called upon to provide the maintenance duties during the interim between employment of the many supervisors was an asset.

    The first requested major application upon Gary’s arrival was the painting of the kitchen and walk in refrigerator, which could only been approached in an after hour situation.  Gary conferring with Administrator David Yarborough about the overtime hours that he a Ray would incur,  surprisingly David volunteered to help with the painting.  The first night finding the three working with a diligence,  the second night Gary and Ray working alone, the facility administrator failing to appear.  Gary as a new employee having respect for David,  a retired Army Officer with a college degree in business administration but soon finding the other department heads had little regard for him and for some reason  the corporate entity, Healthcare Management had put him probation.   Within two months of Gary’s arrival he was relieved of his position and transferred to the Merced facility as temporary administrator then relieved of his employment,  Brad Kikuta, Corporate Vice President assuming a temporary position of Administrator.

Brad Kikuta – Corporate Vice President and temporary Administrator

Brad, fluent in the Japanese language,  his parents American citizens,  their Valley farmland confiscated during world war II,  then being placed in an internment camp, the youth growing up in the San Joaquin Valley,  a graduate of Fresno State University.   Gary finding the corporate vice president an inquisitive personality,  Brad as a person was a confirmed bachelor with a regimented life,  dawning the day with a 5:00 a.m. calling  at Gold’s Gym every morning,  arriving at work at 7:00, conducting the department head staff meetings at 9:00.   Most mornings  finding him departing the building for his corporate duties at their offices in Madera or visiting one of the other 12 facilities,  entrusting the everyday management of Colony Park’s to the Department Heads.   Most of the department supervisors were somewhat apprehensive of Brad,  but Gary arrival at 7:00 a.m., an hour earlier than the others,  provided an opportunity to discover an insight to Brad they would never encompass,  able to discuss  subjects other than work,  a mutual respect developing.


The Department Supervisors, a diversified collection: (From l to R) Brad, Admin; Kathy, HR; Marvin, So Serv; Bob, Med Equipment; Gary, Env. Serv; Ruth, QA; Joanie, Office Manager; Sashi, Dietary; Carolyn, DON; Julie, Activities; Brenda, Med Records

The Maintenance Supervisor having  progressed three months into his duties when Brad entreated him to his office asking Gary if he would be willing to expand his responsibilities by accepting a position appropriating the addition of the Housekeeping,  Custodial, and Laundry departments,  while still concurring his maintenance duties.  It was  Déjà vu, Gary recalling the very same circumstance happening 10 years earlier following his employment at the Anthony Hospital in Kansas.  Brad conferring his new job description as Environmental Services Supervisor, Gary accepting,  but not without experiencing an inner feeling of compassion as Shirley the housekeeping and laundry supervisor,  given notice, exited in tears.  Included with the added responsibilities was a substantial pay raise,  discovering he and the Director of Nursing,  Carolyn Hauser were the only two salaried staff employees.   The new responsibilities made for a longer day retaining his 7:00 A.M. appearance, on most days  his eight-hours extending sometimes into a ten-hour day.


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