Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, June 18, 2001

Good Samaritan Center marks 30 years of service

By Lynda Jensen

About 30 years ago, the people of Howard Lake formed a task force and pursued the idea of building a nursing home in the community.

Their mission was - and is - to care for others in Christian love, as well as to keep local people close to home in their twilight years.

"Our mission statement is what we are all about," commented Administrator Becky Bollig.

The mission statement for the Good Samaritan is: "To share God's love in word and deed by providing shelter and supportive services to older persons and others in need, believing that, 'In Christ's love, everyone is someone."

The passion for the mission caught on in 1970, with several hundred thousand dollars being pledged by Howard Lake residents toward the project.

"This nursing home is needed in Howard Lake and would offer many advantages to our community and our citizens. It is a place for our senior citizens to spend their declining years without the necessity of being placed in another community," according to a story printed in the April 16, 1970 issue of the Howard Lake Herald.

Following a good measure of hard work in the 1970s - with bonds being issued, private pledges made, and plans finalized - the idea became reality.

The structure was completed by April 1971. The first resident was Margaret Aritt, who entered the home June 21, 1971.

More than 500 attended the celebration for the brand new 70-bed facility, July 25, 1971.

Since then, the nursing home has experienced growth.

The addition in 1983 added a new physical therapy room and three additional resident rooms, to increase census to 73, Bollig said. In 1993, the center was purchased by The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society located in Sioux Falls, S.D.

In 1994, the center remodeled all the resident rooms, day room, and dining rooms, following by a recent addition in 1998 to allow for more space and other improvements.

Today, the nursing facility is 55 beds, allowing the use of more private rooms, which is a growing trend in nursing homes today, Bollig said.

"We continue to make improvements by adding floral decorations, new furniture to the day room, and new cabinets to the bathrooms," Bollig said.

A Visiting Friends program was formed in 1972 that formed the foundation of the modern-day nursing home auxiliary. Its purpose is to increase the happiness of the residents through various programs.

The auxiliary is responsible for contributing a gazebo in the garden, stereo entertainment system, bird aviary, humidifiers, garden furniture, a showcase, and helped purchase a van, among other things.

". . . The people in one's life are like the pillars on one's porch you see life through. Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes they lean on you, and sometimes it is just enough to know they're standing by . . ."

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