When Tim began working in the maintenance department at Valley View Village 43 years ago, he did not expect to be there for the long haul.
“I said, ‘This is a temporary job until I find something I like doing better,'” Tim says.
Simply put, that never happened.
“I haven’t found anything I like doing better … I just enjoy it,” says Tim, now the assistant environmental services director.
People and Their Stories
“I enjoy the people; I enjoy hearing their stories,” Tim says.
He has met many people and heard many stories while working on projects and, years ago, driving residents to appointments.
“Once they get to know you, they open up to you,” Tim says. “I’ve heard hundreds of stories over those 43 years.”
He remembers many of them, especially stories about their upbringing in much more difficult times.
“One lady told me, growing up, she was so happy one year for Christmas because she got an orange and two soda crackers, and that was her Christmas,” Tim says. “It was better than the other stuff she was eating.”
Stories like that have affected how Tim approaches life.
“My perspective is made up from the residents I’ve talked to over the years,” he says. “I’ve listened to them and grew into some of their ways of thinking about things.”
Tim also has experiences from his time at Valley View that will stay with him forever.
“I had an incident where a resident died. She had no family members,” Tim says.
He will never forget what he found while cleaning out her room.
“I found a hand-written letter in the back of the closet from her daughter, who had had cancer and died before the resident. It said, ‘If you’ve found this letter, it means my mother is gone,'” Tim says. “She described what her mother and father were like. Those are memories I’ll carry the rest of my life.”
What does an assistant environmental services director do?
“After 43 years at Valley View Village, just about everything,” Tim says with a laugh.
He knows the 16-acre campus quite well.
“I feel like I walk all 16 acres,” Tim says. “I do everything from plumbing to electrical, basic maintenance, upkeep the equipment, and try to keep up with the paperwork.”
How does he keep up with the ways these tasks have changed?
“It’s very difficult,” Tim says. “I have to learn to rely on other people to help out … I have a saying: I can’t do my job without the other maintenance people, my supervisor, dietary to feed the residents, and nursing to take care of the residents. It’s a team effort. You have to have all these departments and they have to work together.”
And, he is thankful for all of them.
“I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of coworkers than what I have right now,” Tim says.
The Valley View Village campus has changed dramatically over the course of Tim’s career.
Changes include a new memory care unit, assisted living, skilled nursing facility, and The Manor Independent Living.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes in that 43 years,” Tim says. “I’ve been on the construction committee for all those buildings.”
He embraces change and even the challenges that come along with it.
“I enjoy watching the changes happen,” Tim says. “A lot of people don’t like changes, but life changes as you get older. It’s a natural part of life. I’m one that I love learning new stuff.”
Tim admits his job is challenging, but he enjoys it. In fact, in a way, he credits his job for keeping him alive.
“Lately, I’ve had some health problems. I’ll tell you what, without the prayers of all the residents, I don’t believe I’d be here,” Tim says.
In 2021, he had brain surgery to remove a tumor. In June 2023, he had another brain surgery. Three months later, he began radiation, with plans to work full-time while receiving treatment.
Why keep working through it all?
“My biggest thing is, number one, the residents. There have been so many different people from different aspects of life,” Tim says.
And, he likes to stay busy.
“I had to take about six weeks off after my surgery and it got a little boring,” Tim says.
He enjoys his job and hopes to keep doing it for a few more years.
His doctors told him he should not be alive after going through everything he has endured. That makes him even more thankful for every day he gets to experience.
“The Lord’s not done with me yet,” Tim says. “He still has something for me to do.”