Sandrock Ridge residents glad to be home

Omar Wright has moved from Craig to Meeker to Palisade and back to Craig in a two-year time span.

"He's a traveling man," his daughter Sharon Durham said.

She picked him up from a nursing facility in Palisade Wednesday and brought him home to Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab -- the former Valley View Manor nursing home -- which opened in September. Many residents were displaced when Valley View Manor closed its doors a year and a half ago. "We were worried about it because we liked having him close," Durham explained.

Wright's family had a hard time visiting him because he was so far away. His wife, who has passed away since, was living in Sunset Meadows and did not get to spend as much time with him as she would have liked.

But when his family learned the care and rehab facility was reopening here, they jumped at the chance to have him in Craig again.

"He said on the way home, 'What did I do to deserve this? They're treating me like royalty,'" Durham said.

Wright isn't the only Sandrock Ridge resident happy to be there. About two-thirds of the residents lived at the facility when it was Valley View.

Best friends Hilda Schmidt and Grace Klayko are two of them. They were moved to Steamboat Springs, and liked it, but wanted to be closer to their relatives. "We were glad to get home," Schmidt said. "There's nothing like home. Our families were all over here."

Mitch Friedman, who has 26 years in the nursing home field, took over as administrator of Sandrock in May.

"We're here to service people again so they don't have to leave the county," he said.

The building has been renovated, and Friedman hopes this, as well as convenience, attracts more residents. Right now, the facility is at a little more than a third of its capacity.

The owners changed the name of the home to represent the changes that have taken place internally. There are 38 staff members including Friedman, which is nearly double the number of residents.

"I think it's imperative, from my perspective, for the community to support us," Friedman said. "(The facility) touches so many lives, whether its family or friendship ties."

Schmidt, 96, agrees and is happy to be near her loved ones. She plans to stay at Sandrock for a while, or "as long as they'll have me. I get ornery sometimes."

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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