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Meet Long-Time Golden Living Employee Al Garner

Golden LivingCenters | posted October 20, 2014 | Bookmark and Share

Al Garner began working as a maintenance specialist at the Golden LivingCenter in Valparaiso, Ind. when it was a county-run home in 1968 and then became a private facility. When a new facility opened in 1973, Al performed maintenance in both facilities. He supervised maintenance, housekeeping, and laundry for a couple of years, eventually focusing just on maintenance. He “retired” in 1997 but continued doing landscaping.

Two weeks later, the Merryvale LivingCenter needed someone to assist with maintenance until they found a permanent employee. His outdoor work turned into inside work, and he’s continued to do this ever since. Currently, he supports maintenance for three LivingCenters. 

“I’ve cleaned a lot of toilets and had to take some off because they were plugged, said Al. “I’ve found everything from false teeth to combs and toothbrushes. You just never know what you are going to come across. “

Al has seen a lot of changes over the years. When Al first started, there were no state or federal inspections – only annual county inspections. Once state and federal money came into play, additional surveys and inspections started. A lot of things had to change over the years to satisfy those requirements, Al says,  and increased the workload significantly.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with older people and learned a lot from them. I’ve found they truly appreciate someone who is willing to help them as they have needs,” he shared.

Laundry service was more like what you had in the home, and now it is much more industrial. The kitchen was in the basement, but there were no dumb waiters. That has changed. 

Al notes that it’s best to keep an open mind and learn on the job even if you are given something that is not your core expertise. You have to learn along the way. 

“I’ve worked with some awful good employees and had some good administrators,” he added.

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