On Sept. 8, 2016, University Park Care Center in Pueblo, Colorado, honored two of its associates who had recently celebrated their 30th anniversaries with the facility.
During an open house, Susie Rinn, activity director, and Brenda Files, director of food and nutrition, received a bouquet of flowers and a special display in their honor. Associates laid out old photos of each of them, and guests wrote stories in memory books for them to read.
Attendees also enjoyed homemade cookies and cupcakes, as well as lemonade and tea.
Rinn was 26 years old when she began work at University Park Care Center, after working at a previous nursing care facility in town. As an activity director, she began her career consulting with other Life Care centers around the state and in New Mexico. She trained and mentored other associates, but the bulk of her work was done on campus with the residents.
At the time of Rinn’s hire, there were approximately 60 residents. There are currently 140.
Rinn shared that through the years she and other staff members have orchestrated huge parties with themes, like Hawaiian Day. They have even roasted a pig and brought in professional fire dancers.
Files was 25 years old when she began work at University Park Care Center as a part-time dish washer. Soon, she moved up to the position of cook and then became the certified dietary manager.
The minimum wage was $1.15 an hour when she started, and Files thinks she was making $3.90 an hour. She applied for the job when the building was still under construction, and she remembers that the admissions office had a chair, a phone and a phone book. There wasn’t even a desk.
Later, Files’ daughter worked under her for 18 years, and Files has also had grandchildren volunteer at the facility.
University Park Care Center celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 10, 1986. Over the years, it has served more than 4,310 residents.