Frank Rivas

Introducing Frank Rivas

Frank Rivas is the new Colorado Choice Transitions Coordinator at Center for Independence (CFI). Frank’s job is to assist people to get out of skilled nursing facilities into less restrictive environments. He is uniquely qualified for this position, having worked in a similar capacity at The Resource Exchange – a supported living service program for 2.5 years.

Frank was born and raised in Miami. He was in the military for 17.5 years where he was a U.S. Army medic and all around “jack of all trades”. He left the military in 2001 due to some service connected disabilities in his ankles, knees, hip and shoulders. He also wears hearing aids.

In high school Frank was an extremely shy, “science nerd”. Yet, given a ride in a time machine, he would go back to his youth. When he “grows up” Frank would like to “be worry free’. His “superpower” is understanding others. Frank knows that the secret to understanding others is to understand yourself.

Frank attended Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs for two years. He then attended Colorado State University in Pueblo where he attained a BSW in Social Work with an Emphasis in Psychology in 2008. In 2010 he briefly the School of Nursing at the University of Miami before deciding to return to Colorado where he felt his heart truly belonged.

Frank was previously married but, unfortunately, his wife passed away 21 years ago. “This is one of life’s roller coaster rides” and something Frank has had to come to terms with in his personal journey. At one point in his life, Frank lost his home and moved to Como, Colorado where he lived in a camper with his dog and not much else.

Before CFI, Frank recently worked as a Mental Health clinician at Mind Springs Hospital where he worked facilitating groups and managing clients in an inpatient setting for 5.5 years. Frank found this job very rewarding. However, due to increasing pain from disabilities, Frank understood that he would have to limit his activities and he began looking for a job that would be less demanding on his body.

Frank chose to move to CFI which he finds to have a “non-bureaucratic, open and friendly” culture.

A very interesting side to Frank is his involvement as a “Pirate Reenactor”. He has been a member of the Colorado Rouges in Denver for over 12 years before retiring from that group and has recently joined the Highland

 Rogues since moving to Grand Junction. This is a non-profit organization of “Pyrates with a Purpose”. They perform at special events and educate the public about pirates. Frank will be participating in the local and regional Renaissance Faires and other Pirate Invasions around the country.

In his spare time Frank is also an avid snowboarder and kayaker. He is inspired by nature and tries to visit and many natural places in the world as he can.

Frank is also a HAM radio operator. He has his passed the difficult test for his ‘Extra Class” license - which means he can talk to people all over the world. For example, he has made contact with folks as far Sweden and Chile. Frank is also involved in using the HAM radio at the Western Colorado Amateur Radio Club and looking to develop an Emergency Communications Center with the regional Veteran’s Administration Hospital in their Emergency Preparedness Plan that will encourage and help Veteran's with disabilities like low vision and agoraphobia reach out and make meaningful connections around the world and overcome some barriers to make those connections and feel less isolated.

Another fascinating thing about Frank is that he has built his own “Tiny House” on wheels. It has been a labor of love for the last four years and he says once done he wants to use it as his weekend getaway. Frank was a a Sous Chef for a short time but enhancing his cooking skills for years in a private kitchen, but now focuses on the art of Charcuterie(or smoking meats). He is a regular Boucanier which strangely is a root of the word Buccaneer. He is truly a Pirate in all the sense of the word.

Frank says that people think he is intense because of his size and his how he projects his voice. Because some people are triggered by this intensity, Frank tries to come across smaller and softer. However, Frank says he will never “sugar-coat” things. He sees himself as very straightforward. If you ask Frank a question you will get the truth from him.

If Frank found a winning lottery ticket he would look for its rightful owner because he is very satisfied with his life and loves to work. He feels working is good for his soul. On a scale of 1 to 10, he is a 9 in terms of happiness.

The last gift Frank gave someone is “confidence” and a chance to choose one of the 486 inspirational quotes he has in a jar which he shares with people.

A quote that Frank particularly likes is “Sometimes not doing anything is the best you can do”. He also says, “There is no honor in being better than anyone else. The only honor comes from being a better person than you were yesterday” (Hemingway).

The first 3 things Frank did on his first day at work at CFI were; remembered to be thankful for this job; closed the door to his office and was thankful that he has an office; and lastly, he worried.

Frank says he wants to inspire people to reach out and he will take the time to reach out be happy with people you love. He reminds us all that it is important not to leave it to someone else.

Welcome Frank Rivas!        


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