Washington Veterans Home finds new director

Donald Veverka’s appointment to be Washington Veterans Home’s new superintendent seemed like “serendipity,” said Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, the deputy director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We had national advertisements in the trade magazines, and hosted things on, and have gotten very little feedback,” she said, “because, traditionally, veterans don’t get into that line of work.”

Then leaders at the veterans home got a tip that Veverka might be well-suited for the job and contacted him to see if he would be interested.

He accepted.

Veverka, 63, worked for Sun Management Services as executive director of Oak Lane Retirement in Grants Pass, Ore., until June, and he lives in Medford, Ore.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with emphasis on organizational development from National University in San Diego, and has worked as a nursing home administrator in Washington, Oregon and California.

He’s also highly recommended and did well on “a pretty extensive background check into his background in Washington, Oregon and California,” Alvarado-Ramos said.

The interview process also went well.

“We did a session with the executive team and we liked what we saw,” she said. “We sent him to Retsil to do a session with the resident council.

“There seemed to be nobody who said, ‘no, this guy doesn’t have what it takes takes.’”

His nursing home administrator’s license has expired, and he’s currently completing a 30-hour-per week class to renew it.

He’s scheduled to start work in early November, after taking the test.

“When he sets foot at the veterans home at Retsil, he will be fully licensed and his license will be active,” Alvarado-Ramos said.

Veverka’s predecessor, Al Knight, didn’t have an active administrator’s license when he was hired. He took the nursing home administrator’s test three times, failing the first two before finally passing, and he completed a 1,500-hour on-the-job training program that lasted 18 months.

Knight took over the job at Retsil in March 2008 and resigned April 1, 2011, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Knight’s predecessor, Richard Shreder, held the job for only 10 months.

John Lee, the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs director, initially said Shreder resigned because of his commute to Seattle, but Lee later said that he’d asked him to resign and didn’t give a reason.

But for Veverka, who says he was planning to move to the area before he had heard about the job, it seems like a natural fit, Alvarado-Ramos said.

“His wife’s family is from Olalla,” she said, “so as a couple they’re coming home. To be able to live in this community is almost like serendipity.”

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