Friday, September 3, 2010

Heartfelt Goodbye to Doug Dunkle

Fauquier Health employees were shocked and saddened recently when Director of Facilities Doug Dunkle passed away suddenly. Doug was an employee of Fauquier Health for 16 years; those who worked most closely with Doug spoke of him with fondness and great respect.

Bruce Williams, a maintenance mechanic, has been with Fauquier Health since 1988. He stated emphatically, “Doug was just the best boss ever. He came across as rough sometimes, but
he was a very kind person, he had a very big heart.”

Bruce added, “His memory was incredible. He’d remember the name of a vendor we used eight years ago, and he’d be able to tell you where the folder was with the paperwork from that job.

“He could be in the middle of a crisis and if you went to him with even the smallest problem, he’d come down out of crisis mode, deal with it, then ramp back up to solve the crisis.”

Del Clarambeau, a 10-year veteran of Fauquier Health, said, “It took me a long time to know what to think about Doug. In the morning when you’d say hello, sometimes he’d just grunt at you. But Irealized that Doug’s mind was always working. He had a lot on his shoulders. But if you had a problem, he’d put down whatever he was doing and listen.”

Doug’s staff agreed that he had been the consummate team player, and very much a hands-on director. Bruce said, “Doug would talk to me about a job. I’d say that I needed a second person to get it done and he’d say, ‘I’ll help you.’ ”

Shino Kurian, maintenance mechanic, nodded in agreement. “Doug never stood back and told others what to do. He wanted to be involved. I remember one day a few weeks ago,
when he was leaving for the day. He had his coffee cup in hand and was headed out the door. A truck pulled up with two pallets. Doug put down his coffee cup and stayed another 30-45 minutes helping me, to make sure it all got done.”

Shino said, “In the last five years, I had to call him after work about three times. No matter what time it was -- it could be the middle of the night -- he’d be ready with the answer. He was always ready to back us up.”

Nis Russell, administrative assistant, remembered that whenever there was a new project on the table, Doug would spend a lot of time researching what other hospitals were doing. “He was very innovative. He liked us to be ahead of everyone else.”

The Snowstorm of 2010
Several of Doug’s co-workers broke into knowing smiles when talk turned to the big snowstorm in February. Jerry Hansel, director of Environmental Services, said, “Doug managed to wrangle the last front end loader in the area to use for removing snow. Doug was defi - nitely in his glory driving that around."

Bruce said, “He’d be out in the storm for hours, then come in for a two-hour nap and head back out.”
Nis laughed, remembering. “Doug was exhausted, but he loved it!”

The snowstorm will go down in legend and song, apparently. Del remembered with a chuckle, “Doug camped out here for days. At one point he was so tired, he brushed his teeth with Icy
Hot. He said he couldn’t spit enough.”

Doug was popular in his neighborhood, too. Del said, “He was always telling us what this or that neighbor wanted him to do for them. He acted like it was a pain in the neck, but he loved it. It was like that with his wife’s dog. He would complain about it, but he loved that dog.”

What else did Doug love? That was easy, said his friends: M&Ms, chocolate doughnuts and … most of all, his 9-year-old granddaughter. Shino said, “No matter how busy or stressed Doug was, all you had to do was mention her name, and his face would light up.”

Laura Nicely, supervisor of biomedical engineering, said, “I knew Doug for 14 years. I didn’t like him every minute, but I loved him. Here in Facilities we called him ‘Dad.’ When his wife called me to tell me of his death, she said she wanted to call me personally, because Doug cared so much about me.
I didn’t know that.”

Del said, “The last couple of years, I realized how much Doug cared about us. He referred to everything in the hospital as ‘his’ -- his boilers, his sterilizers... Greg Bengston told us after Doug
died that he always referred to us as ‘his guys.’ I never knew that.

“In the heat of a busy day, you don’t realize how close you are as a group. I never realized what a big presence Doug was. I realize it now.”

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