Residents Don't Like Leadership At Retirement Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/11/05

Residents Don't Like Leadership At Retirement Home

Some Armed Forces Retirement Home residents say under the guidance of Captain Jerald Ulmer, their living conditions have gone from that of a beachfront utopia to that of having no rights at all.

"This is not the way to run a retirement home and especially since it's our retirement home and we're the residents. We feel that we have a voice, but there's no such thing as freedom of speech in here," says Navy Retiree Jim Pankey.

But one man had no problem speaking freely of what he says are broken promises of new construction.

"They should have already started in the month of January another high rise building, individual units larger than the ones we have now with a bath that we don't have now in our rooms. And this was going to be an upgrade. Well, that didn't even come about. They make these promises, definitely. 'This is what we're going to do.' I've heard this for ten years," says Harold Fillyaw.

A concern all the people we spoke with share is the future of Deputy Director Lt. Colonel Wendy Van Dyke.

Ken Willitts says, "Nobody else will stand up for the people here except for Colonel VanDyke and because of that she's being castrated."

Pankey says that's because Van Dyke granted a nurse sick leave, overruling a decision by the home's medical services administrator. According to Pankey, Captain Ulmer disagreed with Van Dyke and is now punishing her.

"And we are being forced to do without her excellent and capable services by the management because they've got her literally under house arrest. She cannot talk to you, she cannot talk to us," says Pankey.

Another resident, Mary Nelson, says, "She was just doing her job looking after the residents and the help here and trying to preserve, I think, what we already have going for us."

The retirement home's director, Captain Jerald Ulmer, wouldn't talk to us on camera about the residents' concerns. He did tell us there are doctors on staff three days a week and medical care is available. Ulmer says a dentist is available full time.

As for Lt. Colonel Van Dyke, Ulmer says he has nothing to do with assignments and the decision to reassign Van Dyke came from the Secretary of Defense.

Van Dyke is on leave for a week. Her attorney says she didn't request the leave.

Lt. Brett Bowlin says he can't discuss the reasons Van Dyke is on leave, and he says they know nothing about her being reassigned.

byMarcia Hill

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