“I do a little bit of everything,” says Forest Cline, whose can-do disposition has led to career at Columbia Basin Care that has spanned 28 years.
That “little bit” covers a lot of ground, and decades of service to the region’s only not-for-profit nursing home. Founded in 1964, Columbia Basin Care has served the community for 51 years — with Cline on the team for more than half that time.
Born in Missouri, Cline was a youngster when his family moved to The Dalles. He joined Columbia Basin in 1987 when he was just 19 years old. His mother worked as a bookkeeper at the facility, and he was hired to work in the kitchen on an on-call basis. Quickly proving himself hardworking and reliable, he was promoted to full-time work serving, cleaning, and “doing everything but make the meals,” he says.
Realizing his ability with tools and machinery, Cline moved into janitorial and maintenance work — where he now plays a critical role in keeping systems running and people happy.
From waxing floors to wheelchair repair, Cline is a jack-of-all-trades. You’ll find him painting, bringing plants to life in 100-degree heat, driving the shuttle van, and then cheerfully chatting with residents.
His historical knowledge of the facility was especially valuable during Columbia Basin’s major renovation to the building’s exterior last year. When crews were looking for electrical boxes, irrigation lines, and heat and air systems, Cline was an in-house resource.
“He’s very dependable,” says Gregg Lee, Environmental Services Director and Cline’s supervisor. Over 80 people work at Columbia Basin, and “everyone knows and appreciates Forest. He has pride in his work and this place.”
Cline isn’t alone in his dedication. On his heels, Janet Sullivan, Medical Records Manager, has worked at Columbia Basin for 26 years.
Over 28 years, Forest has learned to take the long view. “I’ve worked for five supervisors and seven administrators,” he says. “The important thing is the residents, and keeping them happy.”