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Cass County Medical Care Facility welcomes new administrator

CASSOPOLIS — With the help of a recent staffing change, one area organization is looking to expand and improve long-term care in Cass County.

Last month, Roger Garmendia, 38, was named the new administrator at the Cass County Medical Care Facility, a government-run nursing facility located at 23770 Hospital St., Cassopolis. The former administrator, Christian Lutes, has been named the chief executive officer at the facility. According to Lutes, the staffing change will allow Garmendia to oversee the day-to-day operations at the facility, while Lutes turns his focus to other projects, including a potential expansion on the facility’s 200-acre property.

“I will be moving forward to work with the facility and the county of Cass to provide homes for our increasingly growing population of elders,” Lutes said, adding that he fully trusts Garmendia to do well in the administrator position. “Roger has heart. Many people will tell you they have heart — Roger actually has heart. He has a solid background in long-term care from a for-profit perspective and in a different state, but he has the aptitude to continue, to move forward and make Cass County the facility of choice and the provider of choice down the road when we start expanding.”

Though Garmendia said he and his wife are currently looking for a new home in the Cassopolis area, he currently lives in the South Bend-Mishawaka region. He was born and raised in Honduras before moving to Berrien Springs when he was 19 years old.

Gardmendia comes to the medical care facility with 15 years of long-term care experience, having worked as a certified nursing assistant, activities director and nursing home administrator.

In the weeks since he started in his new position, Garmendia said he is enjoying his work and the culture at the medical care facility.

“I woke up in the morning thinking about work, and it wasn’t anything bad,” Garmendia said. “I was thinking about the future and plans to move forward. … I feel happy, fulfilled and hopeful about the service that we are not only providing now, but will be providing.”

He said he is excited to put those plans into action and hopes to serve the facility well into the future.

“My hope is to continue serving and to provide the level of care the Cass County Medical Care Facility has been providing up to this point and doing it in a way that integrates people, integrates the county, that not only brings awareness, but brings us together,” Garmendia said. “To be successful, we want to have that connection with the community.”

Lutes agreed that the future is bright for the Cass County Medical Care Facility and said he is excited to work with Garmendia as the facility works toward its goal of expansion.

“We want to provide the services that are not available and to keep those services in the county so people can remain in the county and close to loved ones,” Lutes said. “Roger is going to be there with us every step of the way.”