Karen Burley said she has found the job of her dreams as the new director of The Haven.
"I've always been interested in assisted living and working with seniors and their families," she said. "When you sit and listen to their stories, it's so entertaining and I value that."
Burley recently completed four days of "grueling" training in Denver for state-mandated certification.
She has more than 13 years experience working with seniors, but she usually worked behind the scenes, shuffling through insurance paperwork as Moffat County Social Services eligibility technician. In he new position, she gets to work directly with seniors. Before being hired, she was invited to tour The Haven, and immediately, she "fell in love with the place."
"This is more of working with the whole picture," Burley said Tuesday, her second day on the job. "I think it's important, keeping the elderly independent and in a home-like environment. I always thought that was a great concept. We need to make sure they are cared for, while they are respected and given dignity. Being a part of that here is very exciting."
Burley has lived in Maybell for 25 years and has spent the past year as Emergency Medical Services Coordinator for western Moffat County. She remains an active emergency medical technician who covers 2,700 square miles in western Moffat County. She plans to move to Hayden and continue her EMT career as a volunteer. She is working toward intermediate EMT classification, which means she will be qualified for many medical procedures.
Burley said she enjoys the challenge and excitement of being an EMT, and doesn't plan to stop, despite the challenges of her new postition.
"Once you start doing it, it makes you an adrenaline junkie, I guess," Burley said. "Every run you go on is different and it's an exciting thing to do."
Burley stays busy. She is involved in about five organizations in Moffat County.
"I've never been the type of person to sit around," she said.
However, her new job as director of Routt County's only assisted living center will take up much more of her time and require her to say no to some activities.
"I about overwhelmed her," said Lucy Rickman. Friday was Rickman's last day, after three years as director of The Haven and about 12 years of working with the Haven since its inception in 1992. Rickman will be sticking around The Haven for a couple of weeks, helping Burley make the transition into the job. The director's office was almost bare Tuesday after Rickman had moved out most of her belongings.
Burley sat at the computer in her new office, filling out papers to go into the undecorated filing cabinets.
"I think this is the perfect fit for me," she said.