Ruben Hinojos, a resident care manager at Marquis Centennial, didn’t set out to be a Legend—far from it. After starting his career as a CNA, he found that caring for seniors came naturally to him. He enjoyed talking to them and hearing their stories, and after serving in a variety of positions, decided he could best serve them by going to nursing school. He’s been a Marquis nurse for 19 years, and with the company for nearly 30.
About two years ago, Ruben had been temporarily filling in at Marquis Marian Estates when a young staff member appeared in his office door. His name was Jose, and he was a first-generation high-school graduate who had been accepted to Mt. Hood Community College for a Physical Therapy degree. “His family sacrificed everything to bring him to the United States so he could go to college,” Ruben said.
You have to have the empathy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and see things from their point of view. Nobody can do everything alone in life, and there are so many opportunities to help people. It’s just listening and responding when asked.
The problem was, Jose lived in Salem, Ore., a three-hour round-trip drive, without traffic, just to get to class and back every day. He’d heard Ruben might have a spare room in his home, which was close to the school, and wondered if he could possibly stay there. Ruben’s answer was quick and to the point: Yes, absolutely, and by the way, for free. Now Jose is in his final semester, and says he couldn’t have done it without Ruben’s help.
“I was impressed with Jose’s ambition, so I didn’t hesitate,” Ruben recalled. “He had no fear. He had a goal and was going to do whatever was necessary to accomplish it. I could help be that bridge, and I was happy to.”
Once you talk to Ruben for any length of time, his actions aren’t surprising. He believes in being selfless, in helping people when you can. “You have to have the empathy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and see things from their point of view,” he believes. “Nobody can do everything alone in life, and there are so many opportunities to help people. It’s just listening and responding when asked.”
He’s appreciative of the Legend award, but like many Marquis and Consonus Legends who have come before, he’s a humble person who’s a little embarrassed by all the attention. When he stepped outside for the surprise event in his honor at Marquis Centennial, he felt “bamboozled” but honored to be acknowledged by his coworkers and residents.
He doesn’t see anything special in what he did—he’s just committed to always taking that extra step, because he believes it can have ripple effects across generations. As he said in his Legend acceptance speech, “It’s truly the Marquis culture. You see someone who needs a step up, you’re just eager to help if you can.”