Corey Crismon, a Mount Vernon native, recently stepped into the administrator position at Pioneer Place in Vale. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)
VALE – Corey Crismon realized he picked the right career during a flood in Hawaii.
Crismon, now the new administrator at Pioneer Place, was then in charge of an Ohana Pacific Health center on the island of Maui when flood waters threatened in the spring of 2019 and he was suddenly forced to move residents out.
Crismon called the episode “probably the No. 1 most significant moment” in his career.
“We had to move all the residents to a sister facility. The whole community worked cohesively with our team and we evacuated the residents in record time and kept everyone safe. That’s when I knew I chose the right career,” said Crismon.
Crismon recently traded in the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the top slot at Pioneer Place.
Pioneer Place is a government entity providing skilled nursing and assisting living and rehabilitation services.
Crismon said he decided to take the administrator position at Pioneer Place because it meant he would much closer to his family in Grant County.
“Also, I met with the team at Pioneer Place, including the board of directors and (former Pioneer Place administrator) Tom Hathaway. They made my family and I feel welcome,” said Crismon.
A Mount Vernon native, Crismon entered the skilled care career field more than 10 years ago after he graduated from Eastern Oregon University in 2012.
Crismon replaces Mark Mahoney.
Crismon said he became interested in the top job at Pioneer Place when he learned Hathaway retired in 2020.
“But I had already taken the position with Ohana Pacific Health in Maui,” said Crismon.
Crismon’s position as administrator in Hawaii was similar to his new slot, though the Ohana Pacific Health facility served more people, he said.
“We were an 80-bed skilled nursing facility with a 20-bed assisted living facility attached,” said Crismon.
Pioneer Place is a 47-bed facility.
Crismon said he worked as the administrator at the Hawaiian facility for about 16 months before he and his wife decided to move back to Newport to be closer to family.
Crismon said he began his work career in a sawmill in Prairie City.
Eventually, Crismon said he and his wife decided a career change was the right next step and both went back to college.
“During college I worked various jobs and then I ended up in retail for several years before getting into the health care field,” said Crismon.
Crismon started his college career at Treasure Valley Community College, then transferred to Eastern Oregon University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Crismon started out in the health care field as a certified nursing assistant before he moved up to become a social service director.
“One of my previous administrators suggested that since I had my bachelor’s degree, I should go through the administrator-in-training program,” said Crismon.
Crismon then went on to receive his master’s of health care administration from Grand Canyon University in 2015.
Preparedness is key for a job like Chrismon’s and he said when he reaches his office Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. he gets right down to business.
“I write out my priorities for the day, then I check my emails and then I complete rounds,” he said.
Crismon, 52, is also at the head of a big family. Married 32 years, Crismon and his wife have five kids ranging in age from 13 to 31 with five grandchildren.
Crismon said patrons of Pioneer Place can expect quality service.
“They will receive the best care possible,” said Crismon.
Crismon said last week Pioneer Place served about 20 clients on the skilled nursing side of the facility and 27 on the assisted living wing.
Crismon said the key goals of the future is to keep “our building a five-star facility.”
He also wants to ensure the staff at Pioneer Place “get the recognition they deserve for the job that they do.”
A five-member board oversees Pioneer Place. The facility is funded by a local taxing district but by law that money can’t be used for operating expenses.
Pioneer Nursing Home Health District was created in 1975 and in the 1990s local voters approved a bond measure that financed the construction of the facility. The current Pioneer Place opened in 2003.
Pioneer Place employs 70 to 80 people with a payroll of about $2.3 million.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].
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