For 20 years, Doug Linze has served as executive director of The Vintage Retirement and Health Care Center, following a passion he developed nearly 30 years ago.
And last week, the center helped him celebrate his 20th anniversary.
It was about 30 years ago while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia when Linze found his passion for helping those who couldn’t help themselves.
But Linze, 51, isn’t one to boast or brag about his accomplishments. He said he doesn’t do the work for there cognition.
He said he does it because he believes his work is a calling from God.
“I can’t see how anyone cando this job without some kind of guidance,” he said. “There are decisions that you have to make that affect a person’s life, and it’s not something you take lightly. It can be challenging.”
Since 1985, the center has offered health care, assisted living and independent living. Linze said it’s a job that requires him to put others before himself.
“The decisions the residents and their families have to make in this stage of life can be hard. It’sdifficult and challenging,” he said.
Linze credits his employees with helping make the center a success for the past 20 years.
“I’ve been blessed with an amazing team of people,” he said. “I’m responsible for about 145 to 150employees and they work really hard.”
Though Linze is sometimes reluctant to talk about himself, his employees aren’t shy about opening up about their boss.
“I knew I was working for a very special person when I received a handwritten note from Mr. Linze at Thanksgiving, November 2006, thanking me for the job I was doing and for what I brought to the job of wellness nurse,” said registered nurse Nancy Martin. “Ihad only been on the job for two and a half months and was so touched for the warm personal note.”
Since then, about seven years later, Martin said she has not been disappointed. She said Linze remains a caring individual “who is totally dedicated to his calling of providing care to seniors.”
Demetria Anderson, director of nurses, is one of the center’s newest employees. She began working at the center earlier this month and she said that almost immediately after she started her new job, her husband was struck with a critical illness and was admitted to an intensive care unit.
“At this point, I did not know which way to turn,” she said. “That was when my boss, Doug Linze, stepped up to the plate. He answered my call for help and insisted that I stand by my husband while he held down the facility until I could return.”
She said that to some people,Linze’s kindness may seem small, but she describes his actions just short of a miracle.
“Our cares are his cares. Weare very fortunate and blessed to have him for our leader,” she said.
Linze said the center’s residents teach him lessons each year that he will carry with him for life.
He said that as the residents grow older, they have time to reflect on their lives. One recurring theme is family.
“There are several times where people say they wish they had spent more time with their families,” he said. “Once you hear that enough, it sticks with you.”
Linze said though the work can have its challenges, he’s excited to keep growing and learning with each of his employees and residents.
“I’m not sure how much longer I’ll work here, but I don’t have any plans to leave in the short term,” hesaid. “I found my niche here. And I plan to stay here as long as I can.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.