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Lottie Holcomb joins Chinook Place and holds event to show community to potential residents.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Lottie Holcomb, a longtime area resident, who has worn many hats in the community, including fairgrounds manager for five years and historical society president, has joined the team at Chinook Place to help the facility reconnect with the community.
A new face a Chinook Place, but a long-time member of the community, is looking forward to getting the word out about their small community-oriented facility.

Lottie Holcomb, an area resident for 31 years, who has done everything from running a feed store, to managing the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, has taken on a new position, combining some of her past skills with new ones, as the community relations manager at Chinook Place.

"It used to be Aspen Court, and at one time, the community was full," she said, but there have been a few years now where it's kind of dropped off people's radar, and Holcomb wants to change that.

She said they are on their way to getting a full community again, but they want to promote it and remind people of Chinook Place

"We want to promote what we do and show that this is a really cool place for mom or dad, if they need a little assistance or if they don't, because we have independent living too," she said.

That's the beauty of the Easy as Pie Tour event that had its first go-round on Tuesday; it gets the word out there to people, shows them what the Chinook Place community is all about, and connects in a more personal way with visitors.

The way it works is, on Oct. 17, or Oct. 23, the final two dates of three total, those interested in learning more about what Chinook Place has to offer can call an schedule a tour and they will send you home with a free homemade pie for stopping by.

"We just want people to come and see us. Come and see us and see what we do and it will change their way of thinking of what an assisted care independent living is," Holcomb said.

"I even had some assumptions, not a lot, but I had never been involved in a community like this and if I could move in, I would," she said chuckling, "But I'm not old enough yet."

The idea behind bringing more people in to see the community at Chinook Place is to see what is a good fit for potential residents and if it's not Chinook Place, part of Holcomb's job is to try to figure out where would be best and help them through the process.

"I have already done that with quite a few clients since I have been here, that didn't even move in here, but we found a place good for them," she said.

Holcomb joined the Chinook Place team in late July and has really been enjoying the job.

"I'm the first person that they meet and they talk to, I'm the one that gives the tours, I'm the one that talks to the community," she said.

"It's been very, I don't want to say," she paused, and continued, "Well maybe I do want to say fulfilling, because I am helping people that I didn't know needed help."

"It's like a small family. We're not a big facility. It's really nice," she said. "The people that move in here, even if they don't know each other, they become very good friends, and I just love it."

"Being able to be that person that walks into a room and makes people smile is important to me and being able to talk with the residents and visit with them and talk about their lives and their stories," she said.

Holcomb has been around Madras for a long time and has worn many different hats in the community during that time.

She feels that the new job draws on skills and experience from past jobs as well.

As the president of the Jefferson County Historical Society, a former feed store owner and five-year manager of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, it's safe to say Holcomb knows a lot of people and is familiar with networking in the community. Recently, she spent time doing private caregiving for several people that she knew

"When this job came up, I decided this is a good combination of everything that I have done," Holcomb said.

That being said, "It was a huge learning curve because I have never been in (this kind of) position; I have been in positions like the fairgrounds where I had to network with the community, so I'm pretty good at that. I was worried about having to talk to people because you know it can be a sensitive subject, moving your loved ones," she said.

"A lot of people have a misunderstanding about what assisted or independent care is because they have in their mind that it is a nursing home, when it's not at all," she said.

"I thought it was going to be difficult for me, but it's not because it's such a great option for people," Holcomb said.

"It's a whole new experience, but I absolutely love it," she said.

One of her favorite things is, "I get to hang out with the wiser-than-me generation; that's what I love best," she said.


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