Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Feb. 4, 2002

Being active is key to life for Martin Schauer

By Julie Yurek

The key to life is being active, according to Martin Schauer, 84, of Winsted.

He should know.

Throughout his life, he was the definition of being involved in the community.

In the past, Schauer was a member of the planning commission, the park board commission, the fire department board, the American Legion, and was Winsted's Winter Festival grand marshal at one time.

Schauer worked at the Winsted Creamery for 22 years and then at Sterner Lighting Systems for 12. Both of his sons live in Winsted, as does his wife, Viola.

Schauer was also a part-time police officer at one time.

Now Schauer is a part of a different community, where his activities span just about everything.

He takes part in bingo, breakfast outings at the Pantry Restaurant, and Hawaiian parties.

Schauer is a long-term resident at St. Mary's Care Center in Winsted, where he is busy keeping busy.

Tuesday, Schauer took part in the Hawaiian party at the center. Viola was also there. She brought him a festive shirt that he had requested for the party. When she arrived, the party was in full swing, she said.

The party attendees drank virgin Mai Tais and blue Hawaiians in plastic pineapple glasses, she said.

"They were good!" Mrs. Schauer said.

Once a month residents can sign up to go to the Pantry for breakfast. Schauer usually goes if there is room, he said.

Residents can take a van to Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee for a day. Though he doesn't go, he knows a group goes about once a month, Schauer said.

St. Mary's also features an omelet breakfast where four or five residents watch the cook prepare an omelet for them any way they ask.

"He can flip the omelet by using just the pan," Schauer said.

"Every resident can go get omelets if they want to. Everyone gets a chance," he said.

"There are activities to do every day," Schauer said. A person can play cards and do jigsaw puzzles, play games, play trivia, and more, he said.

Schauer has a picture of the Lord's last supper on his wall. It's one of the many jigsaw puzzles residents work on together.

"He's always liked puzzles," Mrs. Schauer said.

Every resident is on the resident council committee. It meets once a month to discuss what residents like and don't like about the center, what to add or change about programs and activities, Schauer said.

There was talk about starting a welcome wagon for new residents, but it never happened, he said.

The residents vote for what they want to eat at Thanksgiving and Christmas at these meetings, too.

Majority rules, Schauer said. "Someone suggested having duck, but turkey won," he said.

Not all the residents come to the meeting, though. "Some just don't want to," Schauer said.

If residents are able to, they can come and go as they wish from St. Mary's. "We sign in and out," he said.

"There are people here from Waconia, Hamburg ­ all over," he said.

It isn't only nurses and aids that help take care of residents. Volunteers help out a lot at the center, he said. They run the gift shop, help at bingo, assist residents to mass, and help in many ways, Schauer said.

"The volunteers are of all ages," he said.

Schauer also receives therapy for his legs in some of the new rehabilitation rooms that the center has.

"It is helping him out a lot," Mrs. Schauer said.

"The therapists are great," she said.

"St. Mary's is a nice place to be," Schauer said.

"The food here is good. If somebody complains, maybe they just didn't like the food choice that day," he said.

"The care is also good," Schauer said. "There are many people to take care of, and you can't expect them to drop everything as soon as your light is on, because there are others to think of, too," he said.

He and Viola were invited to a special dining night at the center once. About a dozen couples took part, he said.

"We were served and ate like we were the ritziest company in town. It was top notch stuff," Schauer said.

Schauer has a TV and a radio in his room, but he doesn't use either much since he is hardly in his room, he said.

"When I come to see him, he's never in his room," Mrs. Schauer said.

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