Maple Lane staff embrace teamwork during snowstorm

Staff from the Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program took a break from work to build a snowman after a Presidents’ Day Weekend storm dumped 14 inches of snow on the grounds of the facility. Shown here clockwise from the snowman’s right shoulder are Brittany Goff, Zack Fralick, Linda Miller, Dylan Andersen, Stephanie Grable and Julie Vivone. Also on shift but not pictured were James Patterson (who took the photo) and Carissa Watson in the control booth.

On Feb. 11, it began to snow in south Thurston County. By Friday morning, at least 4 inches of powder covered the grounds of the Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program. With the help of the Department of Corrections (DOC) and our dependable maintenance team, walkways were cleared and made safe for the staff who would soon be coming to work.

However, Mother Nature was not through with us quite yet. By the time the Presidents’ Day Weekend was over, nearly 14 inches of snow had fallen in the area. As a result a number of staff were unable to make it in. Some staff that did make it in ended up working double shifts. Because of the bad weather and the treacherous road conditions, staff elected to stay on site to rest up for their next shift. They stayed in the vacant Columbia building next door, which we lease from the DOC.

Having the worst of the snowfall occur over the weekend, DOC staff were not available to assist with snow removal. With a skeleton maintenance team and a few extra hands, walking paths were cleared for staff to get to the facility. The road was cleared well enough for the meal van to run on schedule to meet the needs of the patients. Because of the cold temperatures and large amounts of snow, the main gate to the Maple Lane property had to be manually opened and shut, requiring efforts from at least three people at once. Staff members’ vehicles were buried in snow in the parking lot, which required others to assist in order for staff to be able to leave. Using a maintenance 4×4 vehicle, we were able maintain a drivable ingress and egress out of the facility property. This vehicle was also used to take staff home after their shifts and bring people in for upcoming shifts.

It was incredibly inspiring to see how people stepped up when faced with adversity. At the last minute, Green Hill School, which provides meals for the patients, provided extra meals throughout the weekend for the staff who worked double shifts and stayed on site. Staff brought in extra food for each other and our WellPath partners sponsored a pizza dinner.

Staff did a phenomenal job making sure the patients were well cared for. Scheduled Zoom visits for patients and their families were facilitated without a hitch. Staff used their creativity to plan activities for the patients despite bad weather and shortage of staffing resources. Although we were affected by the inclement weather all around us, staff maintained a calm therapeutic environment that yielded event-free shifts throughout the weekend.

I am very pleased and proud of how staff stepped up and delivered a spectacular work ethic and teamwork approach in running the Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program!


Tracy Grunenfelder,

Residential Services Manager,

Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program

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