Hacienda Oaks Nursing and Rehab recently welcomed its new administrator — Terri Jones.
Also on the list of new hires is Michelle Lopez, a registered nurse, the new director of nursing. Lopez grew up in Skidmore and is a graduate of Coastal Bend College and has worked at both Christus Spohn Beeville and Shoreline.
Jones is also no stranger to Beeville, although it has been a few years since she was here.
“I used to come to Beeville for rodeos,” she said.
“I won the state championship when I was 14 and I was 16 when I quit doing it.
“Really, my dad just bought me a good horse. I just had to hang on.”
Jones said that she has always preferred small town life — which is good because the last place she lived was El Campo.
“I am basically just a country girl,” she said.
While living in El Campo, Jones was responsible for helping that town start its own senior center.
“When I moved up to El Campo, my grandmother said, ‘What are going to do with a master’s degree in gerontology?’
“I said, ‘Well, is there a senior center there?’
“She said, ‘No. But we need one.’
“So we got the school district and city on board and they gave us the old junior high building that was falling apart.
“We had to write grants and raise funds.”
It took five years but they were able to raise the half million dollars they needed to get the building repaired and the center running.
Jones said she became interested in the study of aging because of her great-grandmother.
This was prior to her move to El Campo.
“When I moved to Dallas 18 years ago, I had a great-grandmother in the nursing home there,” she said.
“I was the only family member in Dallas so I had to go check on her.”
Jones admits her apprehension about the visits.
“I got to where I enjoyed visiting with the people at the nursing home,” she said.
She knew then that she wanted to help the elderly live the last years of their lives as best they could.
“I figure if you have to work for a living, you might as well do something you can feel good about,” she said.
She also has a love of the country life and an appreciation for small towns.
“The best nursing homes are in the small towns,” she said. “If you have the same nurse, they know your likes and dislikes.
“In the big city there is too much turnover with help and you just don’t get the quality of care.
“There are people that have been working here for years.”
Jones has her bachelor’s degree in communication from Texas A&M University in College Station and her master’s from the University of North Texas in Denton.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.