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Superintendent leaving Retsil for California
Don Veverka, superintendent and administrator at the Washington Veterans Home at Retsil since November 2011, was appointed by Gov. Gary Brown on March 5 as the new administrator of the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, Calif., the Lake County News reported.
The Veterans Home, located in the Napa Valley, is the largest and oldest veterans home in the nation. Yountville is an incorporated town in Napa County, north of San Francisco.
Veverka said he flew down earlier this year to Yountsville and met with officials from the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I liked their mission, liked their focus, programs and their organizational structure,” he said. “It’s an honor to step into the oldest and largest veterans home in the nation. It’s another honorable calling and I am excited about it.”
Diane Vanderpot, undersecretary for Veterans Homes for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, said she excited about Veverka’s appointment to the Yountsville facility.
“Don has decades of experience in long-term care and we are excited to have him join the Yountville team,” said Vanderpot. “I am confident that Don will prove himself to be invaluable to the Yountville members and will continue the home’s 130-year legacy of quality care.”
Gary A. Condra, deputy director of Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, said Veverka helped guide the Retsil home through a number of challenging times and significant changes.
“During his tenure we weathered tight budgets, involuntary salary reductions, the move away from providing light nursing care and the successful effort to wean the homes program off its dependence on general fund state appropriations,” said Condra. “Even with these challenges the Veterans Home stands tall with a dedicated and committed staff, a five-star nursing home rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and a census that remains consistently at 98 percent or better.”
Veverka’s final day at Retsil is March 14.
“What any good leader tries to do is bring stability to a team and try to create a culture in which everyone tries to be resident-centered,” said Veverka. “It’s about what we can do for our veteran residents. This mission is to serve those who served.”
Veverka said he’s proud of the Retsil staff for their work and dedication to the residents.
“They have achieved a five-star rating with CMS and stabilized a lot of good cultural approaches to meeting the mission.”
He said the Retsil staff is a “very talented and dedicated group who know how to serve veterans.”
“I looked at myself as the servant leader,” said Veverka. “It’s been a privilege for me to serve with this group. They have served with honor and distinction.”
Before coming to Retsil, the Oregon native was executive director at Oak Lane Retirement from 2008 to 2011, senior consultant and operations manager at Paradigm Senior Living from 2003 to 2006 and executive director at the Necanicum Village Retirement Community from 2002 to 2003.
He was administrator at the Peoples Retirement Community from 2000 to 2001, vice president of business development at Donald P. Maynes and Associates from 1998 to 2000 and a marketing representative for John Hancock from 1996 to 1998.
Veverka, 66, was administrator and consultant in private practice from 1992 to 1996; owner and administrator at Care Centers West Inc. from 1982 to 1992; administrator at the Torrey Pines Convalescent Hospital from 1978 to 1981 and at the TLC Convalescent Hospital from 1977 to 1978.
He is a past president of the Oregon Healthcare Association and has served the American Healthcare Association in various capacities.
He served as a medical corpsman in the U.S. Army from 1968-70 and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from National University.
According to the governor’s office, Veverka’s appointment does not require Senate confirmation and his salary is $140,040 per year.
Veverka’s wife, Jill, is a native of Olalla and graduated from South Kitsap High School. She retired from the Medford School District in Oregon, where she taught at the secondary level and mentored first-year teachers in the district.