The Journey Here: Den (Dec. 2023)

Den Bollman moving tools around his workbench at Concordia of Wexford.
A head shot of Den Bollman
Den Bollman

At Concordia Lutheran Ministries, we are blessed with a dedicated team of compassionate employees who help us carry out our mission of caring every day.

Through our series of employee testimonials, “The Journey Here,” we’ll introduce you to team members, profiling their Concordia journey. The piece will be supplemented with a Q&A featured in our Faith in Caring magazine, offering further perspective on how our employees work as the hands and hearts of our mission. 

We’re excited for you to meet Concordia of Wexford Maintenance Supervisor Dennis “Den” Bollman: 

Each time Den Bollman arrives at the Concordia of Wexford campus, he finds a jarring realization. 

It’s quiet. 

As Den begins his daily routine, it’s hard not to ponder the stark contrasts between his current job and the one he worked for the majority of his life. 

The Mold of a Man

Den spent 32 years working in the melt shop at A.K. Steel in Butler, formerly called Armco and now called Cleveland Cliffs. Den’s father had a 45-year career in the same place, after returning from World War II. 

“It was hot and loud. That’s probably why I’m half deaf,” said Den with a chuckle. “It was a wild place.” 

A 1981 Butler High School graduate, Den started in an entry-level role at age 23. As Den continued with the company, the work became second nature, as did the dangers. 

In metal manufacturing, molten metal pours into a mold, where it cools and hardens into a new, sturdy functional object. 

Den said he avoided any major injuries during his time in the shop, and by the time he retired, he supervised the whole process. 

“I started from the bottom and worked my way up,” Den said. “That job was good to me. I raised my family with it.” 

This year, Den celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife, Beth, who manages Concordia Physician Practice. 

“We missed him many nights, weekends and holidays,” Beth said. “Now, we have a life, and it’s nice. He also gets to do something he loves, and he’s forming wonderful relationships with the residents.” 

The Concordia of Wexford sign with the building in the background.
The Concordia of Wexford sign with the building in the background.

Finding New Flow

After retiring from the mill, Den rested — briefly. 

“He’s always busy, even when he’s home,” Beth said. “He never rests. He’s constantly tinkering with something, which makes this job so perfect.” 

After a brief stint as a landscaper, Den found his way to Concordia of Wexford. Den traded in hot, noisy days for those filled with the quiet humming of comparatively more mundane machines, like washers, driers and furnaces. 

Den also tends to rooms after residents move out. He revamps the space by patching walls, adding a fresh coat of paint and shoring up plumbing. Den also tends to current resident’s requests, like fixing a TV, building a bed or modifying a wheelchair. 

“There was a little adjustment, but basically it’s just like doing things around your home,” Den said. “It was nice to get into a clean environment that’s less noisy. It’s a complete 180 from what I was doing.” 

Cool in the Role

Den settled into his role quickly, and the residents and colleagues took notice. 

In fact, Den was even nominated for the 2023 Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award, Concordia’s highest employee honor. 

“He’s not a bragger,” Beth said. “He’s extremely humble and kind.” 

Concordia of Wexford Administrator Jacob Tilko started at the facility in June after the former administrator, Ben Skillen, transferred to the same role at Concordia at Ridgewood Place

“Denny was a huge help in learning all the different parts of the building,” Jacob said. “He’s just a great teammate and a hard worker.” 

Before transferring, Ben saw many of the same qualities in Den, and he appreciated Den’s mindset and attitude. 

“He would always complete a job with a smile,” Ben said. “I’ve never seen him in a bad mood, not even for a single day. That positive attitude rubs off on a lot of people. You can’t help but smile back at him.” 

Den has even left home on his days off to help at the facility. Beth said she doesn’t mind because he’s putting in the extra effort for the sake of the residents and the community. 

“He’s always had a big heart,” she said. “You never have to tell Den to do something. Den becomes very dedicated and committed. That’s why I’ve been married to the man for 40 years.” 

Den vacuums lint from a drier at Concordia of Wexford.
Den vacuums lint from a drier at Concordia of Wexford.

A Man Reforged

As Den’s day comes to an end, he says his goodbyes. He puts his tools away, and maybe he packs the ones he knows he’ll need for tomorrow. 

Oftentimes, he tries to work ahead, performing preventive maintenance rather than waiting for issues to arise. 

Before he leaves, he takes one last look around just to make sure everything is quietly humming, just the way he likes it. 

“This little facility is just amazing,” Den said. “It just runs.” 

View all open careers at ConcordiaCareers.org and connect with us on social to learn more about our employee culture! And, to learn more about Den’s perspective on his Concordia career, check out the December issue of Concordia’s Faith in Caring magazine.

Subscribe today by emailing giving@concordialm.org.


Founded in 1881, Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based, CARF-accredited Aging Services Network and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. As one of the largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, the organization serves 50,000 people annually through in-home care and inpatient locations in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and Tampa, Florida.

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