This month, Beacon Hill at Eastgate introduces a new series that shares stories of employees, residents, and board members that are active and engaged around Beacon Hill and the greater Grand Rapids area. Community is at the heart of our story. It’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself. At Beacon Hill, we’ve created a retirement community for our residents to share with the neighborhood around us. We are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such active residents and staff members who spend time giving back to Grand Rapids. Please enjoy reading our first feature: Board Trustee, Mark Pasma.
Board Trustee since 2008
Mark began his career at General Motors in the 1980s, and after a few years of corporate experience, chose to be his own boss. He bought his first franchise in 1988 – the first of several that he purchased in the Service Master umbrella of brands over many years.
One of the biggest mentors in his life was a man named Darwin, who he met through church when living in Flint. For a number of years, the two had breakfast together several times a week. “He was a business owner, well-known in the community for being gracious and serving others. A consummate glass-half-full person, he always saw the bright side.” And most importantly, “He taught me about the need to care for people; how important it was to take care of the people around you, even if it meant a personal sacrifice.”
Trust in the Outcomes
When Mark went into the franchise business, he leaned on Darwin for advice. “He was the guy in my early business days, when I was so frustrated, I called him and said, ‘What do I do?’” Mark chuckles as he recalls, “Darwin told me, ‘You be thankful! God is trying to teach you a lesson here. Look for the lesson. Pull yourself up and get through it.’” Mark reflects on these words often. “We are not promised a wonderful life full of roses and blue skies; it’s how we react to the thorns and the storm clouds that matters. For a faith-based person like me, that is where my faith kicks in. God’s plans might not be our plans, but we can still trust him for the outcome, even if it’s not what we want it to be.”
Building the Beacon Hill Community
One of his franchise businesses connected him to the senior living industry, where he met Beacon Hill’s President and CEO, Jeff Huegli. The two became fast friends. “We were kindred spirits,” said Mark. “We both have a passion for helping people and doing it right. And we both believe in treating people the way we want to be treated.” They parted ways professionally but remained friends for several years.
When Jeff asked Mark to join the Board of Directors in 2008, Mark readily agreed. “Beacon Hill has been part of my life even before it was Beacon Hill. My grandfather lived at Michigan Christian Home in the 1970’s. Many Friday afternoons I would pick him up and take him to lunch.”
As a board member, Mark believes in being an instrument of service. “Our best gift to the community is providing a positive atmosphere that is demonstrated through a neat, clean, caring environment as well as a positive reputation for treating people well both in and outside of the Beacon Hill community.”
“I always go back to the Golden Rule: Treat People the Way You Want to be Treated. Beacon Hill is our residents’ home. It is important for us to listen to the residents and attend to their needs. We believe in hiring the best. It’s vital to recruit the best people to work here, train them properly, and retain them so that we can provide consistent care and service to our residents.”
A Legacy of Love
When talking about his community involvement outside of Beacon Hill, Mark says “I choose to invest my time where I have the biggest impact on the people who are most important to me. My family. My grandchildren. We have six grandchildren between the ages of 18 months – 12 years old. My wife, Jan, and I volunteer at the school and at their events. Just this past weekend I helped my grandson with a pinewood derby race through church. Jan and I want to age gracefully and be fun grandparents. My life is all about family and leaving the best heritage that we can.”