Blakeford has always been blessed by team members who have spent a large part of their professional lives giving so much of themselves each day to our community. The love and enthusiasm they have for their work, and their loyalty to Blakeford, is recognized by residents and colleagues alike. Because of that, we are always saddened when one of our family members decides it’s time to enter a new chapter in their life.
On July 31st, our Director of Plant Operations, Dan Dale, will be retiring after 12 years of service for Blakeford. By all accounts, he will be greatly missed.
A native of northern Ohio, Dan moved to Nashville in 1968 and eventually began working for Oscar Mayer where he stayed for 22 years. In 2002, Dan came on board at Blakeford. As CEO Van Cluck recalls, “Dan Dale was one of the first people I hired twelve years ago when I came to Blakeford. I knew very quickly that I had made a great decision!”
Residents and fellow team members would certainly agree. One of the qualities you’ll hear most attributed to Dan is his willingness to do whatever it takes to do his job well. For Dan, though, that’s just part of being a good employee.
“You have to be to the very best at what you do whether it’s the best nurse, best chef, best maintenance man, or whatever your job is,” he says. “If you do that, you’ll be gratified in your work.”
When asked about Dan, many residents at Blakeford mentioned the care that he takes with each of them. Dan says, “People are what make the job. You build relationships as you work with people and that’s fulfilling to me. If you’re truly a good person you’ll know how the little things you do for people mean so much to them.”
“Dan has served our community with compassion and dedication every day,” notes Mr. Cluck. “He not only knows our residents, but cares for them deeply.”
With such an impressive history of loyalty in his professional life, he must certainly have some insight into what makes a valuable team member in any company.
“You have to be worth keeping. You must be willing to continually learn and have the self-respect to be the best person on your team. There’s nothing like having the desire to be the best at what you do,” Dan states.
He continues, “Don’t make mistakes in your interactions with people but be realistic that not everything is going to go smoothly. Above all, you have to find fulfillment in what you do.”
When asked about what he’s looking forward to most about retirement, Dan isn’t as quick to answer. After a few minutes of thought, he responds “I don’t know what retirement will be like. You know, I’ve put so much on my plate that I don’t know the color of the plate anymore. I’d like to see what color it is.” Dan goes on, “I suppose I’ll be able to have some balance in my life now.”
Dan won’t be one to do much relaxing in his retirement though. With his skills and experience, it’s very likely that he’ll continue to help people. It’s also a certainty that he’ll spend quite a bit of time at the lake house that we keep hearing so much about. Of course, everyone at Blakeford will be looking for their invitation to join him for a day of fishing.
Dan, we have been honored to work with you for the last 12 years. Your Blakeford family wishes you the best of everything in your retirement…and the door is always open for you.