“It’s all about the people, both residents and co-workers,” said Chief Administrative Officer Donna Ruske when asked what’s kept her at Golden West for over 24 years. Donna started working at Golden West part-time in 1993 when her children were young. “As the kids grew, I grew my role here,” said Donna. She recalls “we announce staff anniversaries at every resident council and last week we had a housekeeper celebrating 15 years, a maintenance tech and a cook with 22 years of service and our IT support tech with 26 years. It makes me feel good to work for an organization that generates such loyalty and commitment. The staff and residents who build this community make all the difference.”
Drawn to Golden West because of the community’s mission to give back to seniors in Boulder, she derives purpose and satisfaction working for a nonprofit most concerned with its residents’ well-being. “We are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of people every day,” Donna said. “And that’s not including the families and the positive impact on their lives knowing their loved one is in a supportive environment.”
While most of Donna’s daily work deals with human resource operations, she’s also part of a team that responds to resident emergencies. Whether helping a sick resident phone family members or responding to a life-threatening situation, it’s a role she takes seriously — helping those whom she’s long considered family. She adds, “I receive as much, or more, benefit, support and encouragement from the residents as I provide to them. I love that I get hugs from residents that I’ve known for 24 years, who ask me how my children are.” She reflects on one resident who lives in assisted living who always stops to tell her what a wonderful community Golden West is and that she is so glad that her sister found this place for her.
Prior to Golden West, Donna was the office manager for the Cunningham Fire District, a role that instilled her value and love for helping others. However, she considers her time at Golden West to be the cornerstone of work history. Donna holds a Bachelor of Science in political and environmental science from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.