Tuesday, November 14, 2000
Steamboat Springs In limbo between their old rooms at the Extended Care Center and their new ones in the Doak Walker Care Center at the new hospital, some of the elderly residents of Routt County sat in the parlor at the new center and napped as they waited for the moving company to bring their beds.
Former Oak Creek resident Red Carr snacked on a cheese sandwich and told stories.
"Me and John Wayne were real good buddies," he said, smiling under his cowboy hat.
Carr, who had been transported to the center by ambulance Tuesday morning, sat up and surveyed his new home, which is attached to the new Yampa Valley Medical Center.
"This is lovely, isn't it?" he asked.
The Doak Walker Center, which is named after the late football legend and longtime resident of Steamboat Springs, has room for 59 people, 10 more than the old center.
Outside each of the rooms hangs a memorabilia box in a glass case filled with mementos from the residents' lives.
The box outside of Flo Thrasher's room contains a picture of Thrasher and her husband in a leather jacket, a miniature ceramic springer spaniel and the score to "Amazing Grace."
The center also offers two sunrooms, two dining rooms, fireplaces, a beauty shop, an activities area, a therapy room and a hospice room. Most of the rooms will hold two occupants, with windows looking out on the valley and the mountains.
Some of the windows look out on a playground for the children at the Grandkids Child Care Center.
The child center and the care center were purposely placed in adjacent buildings to facilitate intergenerational interaction, said Public Relations Director Christine McKelvie. The children, about half of whom are children of hospital employees, interact with the occupants of the care center through exercise classes and ice cream socials.
A consortium of bus drivers, professional movers, hospital employees, concerned family members and about 35 volunteers came together from Sunday through Tuesday to try to make the potentially difficult transition a smooth operation.
"We've had people from all walks of life in here," said volunteer Lynette Weaver. "It's been a very active day."
The city bus drivers, many of whom were returning seasonal drivers being retrained in helping people with disabilities, took residents from the old center to the new one.
"It gives the drivers good practice at working the lifts and working with disabled people," said Transit Supervisor Bob Grogan, who oversaw the bus operations from the Doak Walker Center.
Volunteers helped carry the wheelchair-users into their wheelchairs from their bus seats and rolled them into the center. Although some of the elderly residents found the trip unsettling, most said they were happy to be in their new home.
"It's disrupting to everybody," said Jane Henderson, who lived in the old center for two years. "But the new place is lovely, beautiful. It looks like a nice hotel."
Forty-nine of the center's available beds were expected to be filled as of Tuesday evening, as the new residents of the Doak Walker Care Center settled into their quarters for the evening.
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