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Retsil Vets Home superintendent steps down

It may have seemed like an April Fool’s joke when Al Knight sent a memo to his staff, on April 1, announcing his resignation as superintendent of Washington Veterans Home, effective immediately.

But Knight was serious.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation from the Washington Veterans Home,” he wrote. “I’ve reached the realization that my energies are needed with my family, and I cannot continue to serve the staff and residents of the Veterans Home at the level they expect and deserve.”

He said that he very much still cares about the home’s mission, though.

“I am passionate about serving veterans and their families,” he wrote. “My service to veterans began long before I came to the Veterans Home, and I promise you I will continue to advocate for veterans and their families.”

And his decision to leave was a sad one.

“I will miss serving the good people of the Veterans Home, staff, residents and volunteers alike,” he wrote, “and wish you the very best in your mission of  ‘Serving Those Who Served.’”

Knight put a lot of effort into getting the job.

He completed a 1,500-hour on-the-job training program that lasted 18 months and included rotations on all shifts and in each department in the home.

And he took a nursing home administrator’s test three times, failing the first two before finally passing.

Knight’s education includes a bachelor’s degrees in recreation and sociology from Missouri State University, a master’s degree in business management from Central Michigan University and another master’s degree in healthcare administration from Chapman University in California.

He previously served as an Army colonel responsible for 3,000 soldiers.

Knight took over the job at Retsil in March 2008, following the unexpected resignation of Richard Shreder, who held the job for only 10 months.

John Lee, the state’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs director initially said Shreder resigned because of his commute to Seattle.

Later, though, he said that he’d asked him to resign and didn’t give a reason.

Other new faces at the Veteran’s Home include Dax Dowling, the associate superintendent and Susan Kergil, nursing director.

The salary range is $74,000 to $89,000, and candidates must be honorably discharged veterans with a nursing home administrator’s license.

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