Mary Jo Hargadine is now at the helm of Cliffview Assisted Living Center. When Middle Park Health (MPH) took over the management of Cliffview, Hargadine was the natural choice to take the managerial reins as director.
Hargadine is a registered nurse at the MPH and also teaches Certified Nursing Assistant classes. In her new role as director, she brings the heart for service and vast historical knowledge of Cliffview.
After Cliffview’s opening in 1994, Hargadine served in many roles at the facility from a personal care provider, dietary manager, resident services manager, and even a consultant. She also shared the role of director with Barb Elliott.
Hargadine says, “I am embracing my new role. I love it here, and I love the people.”
Among her immediate goals, Hargadine wants to build trust and making sure residents’ needs are met. She also stresses balancing duties for her staff. “We have a good team. We have more staff now and are trying to make sure what we are doing, we are doing well.”
“With the hospital’s oversight, we have additional help,” Hargadine assures. The hospital’s dietician, Jean Anderson, is the director over the kitchen and its staff giving direction, oversight, developing menus and mentoring. Hospital maintenance assists Casey Pecotte, Cliffview’s maintenance man. Human resources works closely with Cliffview, as does Deb Plemmons, MPH Vice President of Nursing. Plemmons has been instrumental in setting up Cliffview’s Policies and Procedures, quality management, state compliance submissions and mentoring Hargadine.
Hargadine outlines this collaboration increases quality and saves money.
The facility, currently owned by Grand County Housing Authority, provides 24 private rooms for independently mobile adults. Cliffview provides basic support including 24-hour staff oversight and emergency response, home-cooked meals, snacks, housekeeping, laundry and activity programming, medication administration, reminders for meals and activities, and assistance with dressing, grooming, and showers as needed.
Grand County Housing Authority Operations Manager, Sheena Darland, was instrumental in Cliffview’s smooth transition from Senior Housing Options to MPH.
Darland commented, “We were happy to collaborate with Middle Park Health in bringing Cliffview back to a home-like atmosphere rather than an institution.”
History of Cliffview In July 1994, Kremmling celebrated the opening of Cliffview Assisted Living Center. The ribbon cutting event was the culmination of many working together to create senior housing in town. In fact, the facility still sits on property owned by the West Grand School District.
Dennis Carpenter, of DMJ (the general contractors), recalls, “The town folk was stellar throughout the project. Finances were nip and tuck for a while, but it turned out to be a very successful project.” The timing of the project was after Louisiana Pacific (LP) closed their doors and Cliffview Assisted Living Center helped provide industry for Kremmling as well as senior housing.
“They fit perfectly together,” he said. Dennis Gale, who served on Kremmling’s Economic Development Committee, explained that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) were both vested in Kremmling’s economic welfare after LP shut-down.
They sent representatives to meet weekly with other community members to bring viable business to Kremmling – they championed the construction of Wolford Reservoir and tried to get a Job Corps in Kremmling.
After meeting with former Town Manager Bill Koelm, senior housing was identified as a need. The idea of Cliffview Assisted Living Center was conceived in 1992 and opened its doors in1994.
Dennis Gale and Larry Banman served as the co-chairs for construction, and later Banman would become Town Manager.
Banman explains of the initial steps of the project, “The town board decided to move forward and a steering committee was formed (Dennis Gale, Jane Land, Jackie Valance, myself and a representative from the hospital). We selected a management company (Senior Housing Options) an architectural firm (Lantz Boggio Architects of Denver) and DMJ won the bid as the contractor.”
After the $900,000 was raised through grants, construction began for the $1.2 million projects. Eventually, to complete construction, the Town of Kremmling and Grand County Board of County Commissioners (Paul Ohri, Bob Anderson and Dick Thompson) would all help financially. Later, the Grand County Housing Authority would take over ownership of the facility.
Mary Pat Gale was the first director of the Cliffview Assisted Living Center. Mary Pat recalls, “Our main goal was to serve families in Grand County, and surrounding counties, who previously had to have their family leave the area.”
Serving as director for 15 years, Mary Pat shared that residents became extended family. Her husband, Dennis, would often visit with residents before dinner, listen to their stories, and play cribbage. Residents would also listen as her four boys talked about their activities and sports.
The Gales also recognized Bruce Davidson, who was responsible for maintenance, and was always a “go to guy for everything.” He also contributed to the positive and fun atmosphere of Cliffview.
During the initial years, it was important to Mary Pat that Cliffview residents be a part of the community and act within the community. Cliffview residents built floats, attended high school plays, hosted a senior-senior prom, went boating, and entered the fair. They were always busy with activities.
Through all of this, Hargadine was steadfast in all of her roles
at Cliffview, and many times her husband, Russ, and her own six kids could be found at Cliffview.
Mary Pat says of Hargadine, “She brought a feeling to Cliffview to make it feel like a home not a facility. She understands we need to address each resident as an individual. She is so vested and has such compassion.”
Mary Pat also recognized how reassuring it was to have Hargadine with her medical background serving the residents.
Of her mentor, Hargadine admits, “Mary Pat set the bar very high. In my mind, she is the one who showed us how to do the job best.”
Hargadine explained her own vision for Cliffview and echoes Mary Pat’s sentiments, “We want it to have a home-like atmosphere where it is a family and everyone is looking out for one another. We want it to be peaceful, caring and trusting. We want to honor our elders and give them the dignity and respect they deserve.”
She continues, “We want our facility to welcome intergeneration relationships and be involved in the community in lots activities. We welcome others to join our extended family.”
Dennis Gale enthusiastically supported Hargadine’s new role, “It is such a relief to see her in charge of Cliffview. You have to have a big heart. It is above and beyond what most jobs are. It is a service.”
Characteristic of Hargadine, she explains the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.