DEL NORTE— There are two new, friendly faces to greet residents and guests to the River Valley Inn Nursing Home (RVI) in Del Norte and with them comes fun, innovative personalities chalked full of experience.
Administrator Allison King became a certified LPN in 1999 and has worked with elders since 1994. King received her degree from Manhattan Area Technical College in Manhattan, Kan. and continued her education, specializing in social sciences and the study of aging in people from birth to death as a secondary degree in gerontology. “It was a fascinating field to study. When I was finished with school, I couldn’t believe it was over. I could have studied that field forever,” said King.
She spent some time traveling through the San Luis Valley as a child, spending some summers vacationing in the neighboring town of Salida and after getting stuck in South Fork during her travels as an adult, she began to fall in love with the area and the people who lived here. “We seemed to always get stuck in South Fork because of snow. It was a nice little town and when I heard about an opening in Del Norte, I knew I had to at least come down and check it out,” explained King.
“We showed up one day and just strolled around the nursing home, taking in the view and the feelings of the place. It was so quiet and there were people looking out the windows, wondering what in the world we were doing. I applied for the administrator position and moved my family here. The community and River Valley Inn just fit our family and what we were looking for. We love it here,” continued King.
“This is a growing community, with experienced professionals that are a pleasure to work with. The residents here at the home are full of stories and histories and that is why I do what I do,” said King, as she paused to chat with one of the many residents gracing the halls of the quiet nursing home on Memorial Day.
“We have built an amazing team here and we have an exemplary, professional staff. There are a lot of things we would like to do to make living here a pleasure.”
The nursing home has also welcomed a new nursing director, who comes to the home with an associate’s degree in nursing. Lindsey Dorety ended up in the Valley as a travel nurse at SLV Health in Alamosa. During her time at SLV Health, Dorety met a local and it wasn’t long before she decided to make the Valley her home.
“I fell in love with the west side of the Valley. Everything was just so beautiful, and it was where I wanted to call home,” said Dorety.
“What we have here at River Valley Inn is like a little family. Every department, from activities to nursing is strong and has kind professionals working day in and day out to make the residents here as comfortable as possible,” stated Dorety.
When asked why she became a nurse, Dorety explained that she almost wasn’t able to finish school. “In my fourth semester at Trinity Valley Community College, I was in a horrible vehicle accident. I received a severe head injury that almost stopped me from completing my degree. My professors thought I was nuts when I showed back up ready to finish school. I pushed through and am so glad that I did. I still struggle with some memory issues, but that has only helped me relate to my patients. It makes it so that I can understand what they are going through, so we can get through it together,” explained Dorety.
Dorety also brought her own personal assistant director, a small shih-tzu named Wiggles who is more than happy to assist her in everything she does throughout her shifts. “He’s mainly here for the snacks, but he loves cuddling the residents too,” laughed Dorety.
Beside getting used to the constantly changing weather, both King and Dorety are settling into their new surroundings and look forward to growing with the community of Del Norte. “It is wonderful to watch a community as old as this one grow into something new and we look forward to being a part of that,” said King.
The home is seeking outside funding to help pay for a flagpole and flag for the residents, hoping to host their own services on holidays like Memorial Day. Anyone who is interested in helping to fund the project can contact King at 657-1105. As always, the home invites the community to come visit residents, play games, enjoy a round of bingo or just come in and say hello!