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Employee builds useful projects

Doug Schaapveld fabricated our new bulletin boards from broken picture frames that Marketing Director Kurt Lampe found at Hobby Lobby, along with some leftover ceiling tiles.

There might be a project Doug Schaapveld can’t do, but we haven’t found it yet.

Doug is the Manor of the Plains handyman. He’s worked on our environmental services team for 12 years. In that time, he has built and fixed countless items that our residents and staff use every day. However, Doug also helped construct our very own surroundings — he worked for 25 years in the woodworking shop that installed much of Manor of the Plains’ cabinets and trim.

“I’ve always got my hand in something,” Doug said. “As a kid, I was always trying to build stuff. All the kids would be together over at our grandpa’s house, nailing boards together.”

Our staff doesn’t think twice about asking Doug to make things. Earlier this year, assisted living nurse Lori Fortmayer came to him with an idea. She wanted to give residents something dynamic to look at and engage with outside. They decided to make a raised flower garden that doubles as a bird and squirrel feeder in winter. “I happened to have some old fence planks at home. I cut it out and threw it together,” Doug said.

He has also remodeled his own home nearly top to bottom, and he’s got a keen eye for seeing new potential in an old object. Recently he saw walking sticks for sale in a store and, as usual, Doug thought, I could make that. “I went home and found an old skinny tree trunk in my garage I had been saving, and I made it into a stick. It was from an old Christmas tree.”

Lately, Doug has been repurposing some old ceiling tiles, burlap and broken frames from Hobby Lobby into new bulletin boards for Manor of the Plains, at virtually no cost. Four are completed, and there are more frames ready to be used.

Kurt Lampe, marketing director, was especially impressed with the device Doug crafted to help residents turn the locks on their patio doors, which can be tight and difficult to grip. Doug cut out wooden knobs that fit over the lock to create more leverage and make it easier to turn.

Scott Stevens, environmental services director, said he values all of his employees and the quality of their work. Scott said he’s grateful for Doug’s talents, his creativity and his willingness to help. “He’s my fabricator, that’s what I call him,” Scott said.

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