Haven of Douglas staff and residents said goodbye to its current Executive Director Lani Eichman and hello to her successor Adam Brake at a special luncheon that was held on Tuesday, July 31 at the facility on San Antonio Avenue.
After being with Haven for close to 15 years, Eichman has announced it was time for her to retire. Brake took over his new position effective Aug. 1.
Eichman has been in health care for 33 years; 18 as an administrator and she has served as the Executive Director at Haven of Douglas since 2013. She had been in Minnesota when she was approached by a previous owner she had once worked for and asked to relocate to Douglas.
“This was such a great decision to come here,” she said. “I truly love Haven and I love the community.”
Eichman had planned on retiring within the next year when she turned 65 but said when the chance arose to get Brake to come on board in Douglas and fill her chair, she decided to move her retirement up a little.
“I like what Adam brings to this position,” she said. “He has a lot of energy. He has a lot of good ideas. You can tell he wants to do this type of work. His heart is in it. I feel good about Adam taking over.”
Brake, a former journalist, comes to Douglas from Phoenix where he had been working as an assistant administrator for Haven of Phoenix.
“My wife and I have always loved small towns,” he said. “We wanted to be a part of a community that we can serve. … When this position became available we didn’t think twice. … My life’s goal has been to live in a community where I can serve and make a difference. Small towns give you that opportunity.”
Brake had been to Douglas once before when he was 12-years-old. His Phoenix youth football team came here to play the Douglas Chargers on the grass football team at Armando de Lucas Stadium.
He says Lani and her team have done an outstanding job of getting Haven of Douglas to where it is today and he plans on continuing to move forward with what she has created.
“We have a five-star staff here,” he said. “I couldn’t be stepping into a situation with better staff. They’re incredible and dedicated.”
Since coming on board Eichman says she has seen a lot of changes.
“Everything has been for the positive,” she said. “The staff here is so in tune to the community. … Their heart is for the elderly in Douglas.”
Eichman says she has seen so much growth within the company as well that many staffers who come in at entry level positions are able to advance.
“There is a real growth factor here which keeps our people wanting to stay here,” she said.
Eichman takes great pride in what Haven of Douglas has to offer and says it is not a “nursing home.”
“We are a skilled rehab facility,” she said. “We do long term care for those folks that unfortunately can’t stay by themselves. We do a lot of physical therapy, occupational therapy for knees, hips, shoulders. We have a lot of success stories out in the community of people who have rehabbed here and gone home and continued doing what they have always done.”
Eichman chokes up when she thinks back on all the memories she is leaving with.
“So many wonderful things have happened here,” she said. “There have been so many special residents. The staff here is amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to watch so many of my staff have had their parents start here and they have worked here and then gone on and having kids of their own. … I may be leaving the facility; I am not leaving the community. Part of what makes Haven work here is the community. This community cares for its elderly.”
She says she and her husband Dean plan on doing some traveling as well as some maintenance on their home.
“We’ve been with each other for 46-years and it’s time for us to spend some quality time together,” she said. “I’m sad about leaving but I am also looking forward to being able to do some things now I might not have been able to do. I’m still healthy; my mom is still healthy. We can do a lot of stuff that way.”
Brett Robertson, Haven’s CEO, said he had a hard time deciding what kind of retirement gift to give Lani. He knew she was a fan of NASCAR so he arraigned for her and her husband to take an all-expense paid trip to a NASCAR race in Las Vegas this coming September.
“I learned early on in life that life is about making memories,” he said. “It’s cool to buy things but things are fleeting; experiences and memories are more meaningful. We wanted to give you an experience rather than a thing.”
Robertson said this is an exciting time for but also a bittersweet time for everyone at Haven.
“Lani has been working for me and my family a long time,” he said. “The first time I met Lani was in Minnesota … she made a great choice of getting out of Minnesota and getting here where its much warmer. … Lani I want you to know how grateful we all are for everything that you have done for us over the years. … This building would not be what it is today without you.”
“This is the first building I have ever left that I am going to regret leaving,” Eichman stated. “I have made so many friends here who are not really friends, but rather family. … We’ve all stood together, cried together, got peoples families back on track together. I just want you to know how much I am going to miss everybody.”
Currently there are 65 employees and 45 residents at Haven of Douglas.
For more about what Haven of Douglas can do for you and your family call them at (520) 364-7937.