Buckner Calder Woods Announces New Executive Director

Shane Gabis brings nearly 25 years of experience serving senior adults To Beaumont’s faith-based senior living community.


BEAUMONT, Texas (Feb. 2, 2021) – Buckner Retirement Services, the operator of Buckner Calder Woods, has named Shane Gabis as the new executive director of the Southeast Texas senior living community, effective Feb. 15. Gabis brings nearly 25 years of senior living industry experience and leadership to the role.

Gabis previously worked for senior living provider Life Care Services in various capacities, including the past ten years as a community executive director. He also served as a team leader in operational reviews and as a health care administrator. He comes to Beaumont from North Carolina.Shane Gabis as New Executive Director

I was attracted to Calder Woods because of the rich history of ministry Buckner Retirement Services offers to senior Texans,” said Gabis. “The mission, vision and values of Buckner ring true to my own believes and the way I lead senior living community associates and serve residents.

Located in Beaumont’s growing west end, Calder Woods is a 17- acre community providing affordable senior living. As Beaumont’s only faith-based, nonprofit Life Plan Community, Calder Woods offers a full continuum of senior living and care on site, so residents can have the peace of mind knowing their address can remain the same despite changing medical needs.

When asked about his short-term and long-term goals for the community, Gabis noted he wants to continue to build on the community’s rich traditions in Southeast Texas. “I believe serving others comes with great reasonability, transparency and integrity – all attributes the Calder Woods team demonstrated throughout the pandemic. My goal is to continue this level of service excellence that drives resident satisfaction and employee engagement because together, and with the support of God, anything is possible.

Gabis grew up in the rural area of Northern Michigan. He received his degree in Health Care Administration from Davenport University and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in North Carolina with previous licenses in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California. Gabis is relocating to Southeast Texas with his wife, Lisa, and their three pets, a dog and two cats.

We are excited about the knowledge, experience, and leadership style Shane brings to the position of executive director at Calder Woods,” said Brian Robbins, vice president of Buckner Retirement Services. “The end of the pandemic is in sight, and I believe Shane’s passion and faith will be invaluable as we work to return to normal while also looking to a future of innovation in senior living.

For more information about Buckner Calder Woods, visit BucknerCalderWoods.org.

About Buckner Retirement Services, Inc.:

Buckner Retirement Services is a nonprofit senior living organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 350,000 people each year in Texas and six countries worldwide. For more information, visit BucknerRetirement.org.

Information Contact:

Christopher Ruth

Director of Media Relations

Buckner International


Chaplain Spotlight: Kevin McSpadden

Kevin McSpadden

In honor of National Minister Appreciation Day on October 14th, we spotlighted Kevin McSpadden, chaplain of Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo, Texas.

“Growing old isn’t for sissies.”

That’s what Kevin McSpadden has learned from the many senior adults he works with day-in and day-out. After 15 years in church pastoral positions, McSpadden joined the Buckner team as chaplain of Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo, where he enjoys a slightly different role.

“I get to do the things I like, such as preaching and teaching and leading worship services, so chaplaincy is a great fit. It’s pastoral care, so it’s what I love to do,” he said.

McSpadden, who just celebrated his 14th anniversary at Baptist Retirement, says he enjoys working with senior adults because of their courage and faithfulness, even amidst some of life’s challenges.

“A lot of the members have to go through big transitions, whether downsizing from their homes, losing a spouse, or moving from one care area to another—it can be tough. To be an encourager to them through that is my favorite part of the job,” he said.

McSpadden also makes a special point to encourage members in their faith, reminding them every day of God’s love and provision over their lives. His favorite Bible verse, 1 Thessalonians 2:8, beautifully illustrates his heart for the ministry he does at Baptist Retirement Community:

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

A day in the life of a senior living nurse

Angela Britain

Meet Angela Britain, a certified nurse assistant (CNA) at Buckner Westminster Place! Angela serves as a “shahbazim,” a unique position within the Green House® Homes concept that incorporates home-like  tasks such as cooking and cleaning into the traditional CNA role. Check out a day in her life for a closer look behind the scenes of Buckner Retirement Services.

6:45 a.m.: Arrive at work

I work the morning shift, which is good because I’m a morning person. We get there at 6:45, and at that point all the residents are still sleeping. Green Houses are designed to have a smaller staff to resident ratio, so we only have two shahbazims per shift and 10 residents total.

Shift change

The first thing we do is a shift change with the night shift. During these meetings we get all the information from the overnight team regarding anything that may have happened, any resident who didn’t sleep well or anyone was ill. These are important meetings because they tell us how to plan the day.

Breakfast prep

Once shift change is complete, we’re getting ready for breakfast. We want the table to be set and all the food to be ready so we can begin serving residents as soon as they’re up.


Next, we’re going room to room to say good morning and help residents with their routines like shaving and showering. This is my favorite part of the day! I enjoy getting to tell them I love them, and they bless me with some of the sweetest things they say.


Green Houses are designed to have a family atmosphere, so during mealtimes we sit at the table and eat with the residents. If you were caring for your grandparents, you’d of course help them with the daily tasks they need to do, but you’d also help them cook and spend quality time with them. That’s what we do here too.

Lunch prep and activities

As soon as we’re finished with breakfast, we’re cleaning up dishes and beginning preparations for lunch.  It’s a juggling act. You’re cooking, cleaning and tending to the residents’ needs all at the same time.

While we try to maintain some sort of normal schedule for the residents, we also have to be able to acclimate to changes very quickly. We’re in constant communication with other nursing staff so that if we notice any changes in behavior or mood we can address those needs as well.

In between breakfast and lunch we’re also moving the residents around so they’re not in the same place all the time. The activity director will also come in and lead life enrichment activities for the residents.


Before we know it, we’re setting everyone back up at the table for lunch. One of the biggest blessings of working at a faith-based senior living provider like Buckner is that every day a resident prays over the meal. It’s such a sweet time! Family members also often join us for lunch. Some residents do eat in their rooms, so we work to accommodate those needs as well.


Then we start the process all over again of doing dishes, cleaning up and getting residents back to their rooms for an afternoon nap. During nap, we’ll look at the menu for the next day and see if there’s anything we need to do for prep. We’ll also do charting for the day and see if there’s anything we need to do for the next shift.

2:45: Final shift change

We’re relieved at 2:45, and at this point we do another shift change to keep the chain of communication going between nurses. Together we all work hard to let residents know they’re special, they’re still a blessing to others and they still have purpose.

I never would have picked nursing for myself, but now I know I was made for this. The Lord showed me he could open my heart to something unexpected, and he’s made this work so fulfilling.

Behind the scenes: A day in the life of a senior living café manager

senior living chef

James Acuna-Miller used to be an accountant. Now, he’s the café lead at Buckner Villas. Check out a day in his life as part of our exclusive look behind the scenes of Buckner senior living.

9 a.m.

As soon as I walk through the doors in the morning, I’m saying good morning to residents. They’re already bustling in and out of the café for continental breakfast, so the first ten minutes of my day are always several series of “Good morning!” It’s a great way to start the day.

9:30 a.m.

Once I’ve said hello to everyone, I start setup for the café. I turn on the machines, plug in equipment and make a list of what ingredients we’ll need from the main kitchen. Then I grab the ingredients and come back to the café to prep any grilling, set out silverware, freshen up the chip display and make sure we’re ready for opening.

11 a.m.

The café opens at 11, and I usually have a good rush from 11 to 12:15. I’m the only one working in the café, so it can get busy! We have about 30 residents who come through the café every day. Business is the life of a culinary professional, and I love it!

We run a different special every day, and those are usually the most popular menu items. We’ve had a Cuban sandwich, grilled chicken pesto panini, and every Thursday I offer my signature chicken salad. The residents love it! While the main dining room offers a full three-course menu, we give residents a more casual option with burgers, sandwiches and salads. I make a mean burger!

4 p.m.

The café closes at 4, and that’s when I take my break. Because we’re open from 11-4, I need to be available for residents to come at any time. Sometimes we have latecomers who had appointments in the afternoon, and it’s nice to be able to offer a quick bite when they’re hungry.


After a break, I clean up the café. I shut down the equipment, wrap any food and make sure everything is spotless for the next day.

Before going to culinary school, I was an accountant and worked in a cubicle. It was fine, but I like to talk and interact with people. Besides the cooking, working with the residents is my favorite part of this job. They’re a hoot and we have a lot of fun together! It’s a joy to serve them by giving them their favorite foods.

Behind the scenes: A day in the life of a senior living community’s maintenance director

senior living worker

For Dragoslav Lukic, director of facilities management at Parkway Place senior living community in Houston, every day on the job is different.

Today he’s sharing a sample day in his life as part of our “behind the scenes” look at what makes a Buckner senior living community run in tip-top shape.

8 a.m. Arrive at Parkway Place

I arrive to work by 8 a.m. Once I arrive, my first task is always to walk through the community. I do this multiple times a day, but the morning walk is one of the most important to make sure everything is still in order from the night before.

8:30 Director meeting

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the directors from across the community gather to meet with our executive director, Susan Phelps. These meetings are short, but crucial to help me know what’s going on in every area of the community. As facilities manager, I need to know what activities are going on or what concerns team members are facing so my team and I can assist in any way we can.

8:45 a.m.

After director meeting, I do another walk through the community. This is a prime opportunity for me to interact with residents and listen to any maintenance concerns they may have. Oftentimes, we just talk! It’s one of my favorite parts of the job.

9:30 a.m.

The rest of the morning’s structure depends entirely on what’s happening. If there’s an immediate need, I’ll help with that. I also run through all our work orders every morning to get status updates on each and make sure my team is responding quickly.

Mornings are the best time to take care of paperwork, so I often use this time to go schedule any repairs, make sure all inspections are up to date and maintenance schedules on time.

12 p.m.

Before you know it, it’s time for lunch! Our lunch break is officially from 12-1 p.m., but I never take the whole hour. I don’t want to have a whole hour of doing nothing!

1 p.m.

After lunch, I do another walk through the building. Because Parkway Place is currently in the middle of a renovation, nearly every area of the community is under construction. My afternoon walk is a good time for me to touch base with the construction crews and see if they need anything.

2 p.m.

Some afternoons I’ll lead safety meetings or other general meetings with teams throughout the community. These meetings are important so that every Parkway Place employee knows how to maintain a safe, welcoming environment for residents.

3 p.m.

In the late afternoon, I always review all our maintenance work orders one more time. My team receives 30 to 40 work orders a day, so it’s important we stay on top of them and respond in a timely manner!

Our maintenance crew includes me, three full-time maintenance men and one porter.  These guys do it all! Work orders can be anything from plumbing to painting to helping with computers. We do 95 percent of the work around the community and almost never use contractors.

5 p.m.

Time to head home! Even when I’m not at the community, I’m on call 24/7 Monday thru Friday for any emergency needs. These are rare, but it’s important to me that residents have peace of mind should something ever happen. On the weekends, our team rotates so there’s always someone available.

Overall, my job is very rewarding! Getting to work with senior adults and help solve concerns they have is the best part of what I do every day.

A day in the life of a senior living social worker

employee smiling

Stephanie Ebarb serves as the director of social services at Parkway Place in Houston. She’s been with Buckner since 2013 and today is sharing a day in her life.

5:50 Wake up!

At 5:50 I wake up, make breakfast and take my daughter to school. We live an hour from Parkway Place, which means that by 6:30, we’re out the door ready to go. Listening to music on these long drives is my self-care!

8 a.m. Arrive at Parkway Place

I hit the ground running as soon as I get to work. Morning rounds start at 8, so by then I’m already visiting with residents.

I work primarily in skilled nursing and make sure to see each of these residents every morning. Sometimes they want to talk or ask questions, so morning rounds can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how much residents want to discuss.

8:30 a.m. Director meeting

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we have director meetings, so on these days I make sure to finish rounds on time. During these meetings, directors from areas across the community—including dining, wellness and life-enrichment—meet as a leadership team to hear from Susan Phelps, our executive director, and touch base on community-wide initiatives.

9:30 a.m. Nursing meeting

The nursing team gathers for what we call “standup” at 9:30 every morning. During this time, the healthcare administrator, therapy director, nurse team and I meet with the director of nursing to communicate any changes regarding resident care. These meetings are short but crucial to resident wellbeing. It’s important that a nursing team works together on behalf of every resident, and Parkway does that beautifully!

9:45 a.m. Family meetings

Every Wednesday, we have family care plan meetings from 9:40 until lunch time. During this time, representatives from therapy, nursing and dietary meet with family members to discuss their loved one’s care plan. Each resident’s family meets with us once a quarter, so we keep a busy rotating schedule!

The other days are rarely planned. My office is a revolving door. People are always coming in and out, which rarely leaves time to plan or organize. But that’s the social work life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Noon: Lunch

I try to leave the building for lunch, but usually end up working through it. I always want to be available to residents, family or fellow team members, so even though my task list is long, I love what I do.


The rest of my day, I’m working predominantly with family members. I provide a safe place for them to ask questions because many have never gone through this process with a loved one before. I’m there to provide support.

Throughout the day, I’m also communicating constantly with my interdisciplinary team, and I certainly couldn’t do this job without them. I get a lot of help from the two social work graduate interns here too.

If you were to summarize my job in a nutshell, I work as an advocate for residents before, during and after their time at Parkway Place. If a senior adult moves to Parkway for the first time, I assess their psychological, social and spiritual well-being to determine how we can best serve them. If a resident needs to see a dentist, podiatrist or eye doctor, I help set up those appointments. If it’s time for a resident to be discharged, I create a plan to keep them moving toward success even after they leave.

4:30 p.m. Go home

I try to leave between 4:30 and 5 p.m. each day. I sometimes stay later to finish up paperwork, because as much as I’d like to be with residents all day, there is inherently a lot of paperwork involved in social work.


In the evening, I spend time with my family and finish projects for my second job as a field liaison for the University of Houston. I have 21 graduate students under me and help make sure their internships provide a quality educational experience. I’m also working on my own clinical license, so evenings and weekends often mean studying.

I truly love the work I do and love being busy. When I went to school to be a social worker, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do. Serving senior adults is my passion.

Calder Woods chef recognized for nearly 20 years in food service

senior dining chef

Chef Charles Duit, director of nutrition and food services at Calder Woods in Beaumont, and his wife Debbie were recently recognized by the Sabine Area Restaurant Association for their dedication to the Southeast Texas food service industry. Collectively, they’ve spent nearly 50 years in local food service, including Duit’s 14 years at Calder Woods. Congratulations, Chef!

David Sims named Executive Director of Buckner Westminster Place

buckner hope shines here

Buckner Retirement Services named David Sims as Executive Director of Buckner Westminster Place, effective March 7.

David comes to Westminster Place from Christian Care in Mesquite where he served as Health Care Center Administrator. His tenure with Buckner, however, began four years ago when he served as Administrator for Elsie Gayer Healthcare Center at Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo from 2014 to early 2017.

As Executive Director of Westminster Place, he’ll be responsible for overseeing the daily operations and future direction of the Longview nonprofit senior living community.

“David’s wealth of experience in senior living and his commitment to the mission and values of Buckner make him an excellent fit to lead Buckner Westminster Place,” said Charlie Wilson, Senior Vice President of Buckner Retirement Services. “We are pleased to have David join our leadership team and look forward to the ways his skills will help us continue to build this great organization.”

Opened in 1996, Westminster Place is a thriving faith-based senior living community offering a full continuum of living and care, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term and skilled nursing.

David comes to his role as Executive Director with extensive senior living and health care management experience. He’s worked with various senior living communities across Texas—from Waco to Abilene to San Angelo—since 2010 and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

David thanked leadership from Buckner International and Buckner Retirement Services for the opportunity to continue serving senior adults through life-enriching programs and expert health care.

“Serving senior adults is my passion and calling,” David said. “Getting to live out that calling as part of this outstanding Buckner team is a true honor, and I look forward to furthering Buckner Westminster Place as a leading provider of East Texas senior living.”

© Buckner International. - Developed by LevLane
Font Resize