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Society news

Events, milestones and celebrations occur every day within the Good Samaritan Society. Here, you can read
all Society news, corporate news, center news or center news highlights.

Jul 18, 2014

Horace Shankweiler made a gutsy call as a bomber pilot during World War II that saved 10 lives after the D-Day invasion.

(Hot Springs Village, Arkansas) – Horace Shankweiler was a 24-year-old U.S. Air Force captain as World War II marched toward its turning point: the D-Day invasion.


He was a lead pilot who flew B-24 Liberator bombers out of Tibenham airfield in England for 27 missions over Europe.


But the 18th mission was almost Horace’s last.


Hit by German gunfire after bombing Nazi defenses in France, Horace managed to steer his B-24 back over the English Channel before crash-landing on an emergency airstrip near the White Cliffs of Dover. All 10 crew members survived.


“We got down, and I didn’t have any brakes and our hydraulic system was shot out, and the ship was full of holes,” says Horace, 94, a resident at Good Samaritan Society – Hot Springs Village. “Fortunately, nobody was hit, and I was very, very lucky.”


For his service, heroism, and role in liberating France, Horace received a Legion of Honor medal. France’s Consul General awarded it this summer during a ceremony in Texas with 35 other D-Day veterans.

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Jul 18, 2014

Some of the smiling faces found at Men's Coffee every Wednesday morning.


(Arapahoe, Nebraska) – The best coffee in this town of 1,000 isn’t served at a Starbucks.


It’s served at Good Samaritan Society – Arapahoe, where several men meet at 10 a.m. each Wednesday to talk crops and shop in the rehab/skilled care dining room.


Locals refer to the gatherings as Men’s Coffee.


Men’s Coffee isn’t formal. It’s about friendship founded on swapped stories, opinions and jokes. Recently, close to 25 men laughed and visited in the dining room.


Among those in the core group are residents who used to meet downtown for coffee and chats before they moved into Good Samaritan Society – Arapahoe. Others in the group are friends, relatives and volunteers who stop in for the camaraderie and treats baked by Arapahoe’s assisted living staff.

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Jul 14, 2014


(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) – The Good Samaritan Society’s chief medical and quality officer, Dr. Vicki Walker, has been chosen as a 2014-2015 Health and Aging Policy Fellow.


The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program is committed to helping healthcare and aging professionals be advocates for the rapidly expanding senior population. Fellows are given an opportunity to develop skills and contribute practical knowledge that will help shape practices and policies for older Americans.


Walker is the organization’s key physician resource for developing and reviewing clinical practices and new models of care.


Fellows are chosen based on evidence of commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential, and interest in impacting health and aging policy.  The program includes professionals from various disciplines, work settings, and career stages.


The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program is led by Dr. Harold Alan Pincus, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.


Click here for an introduction to Dr. Walker.


Partners of the program include the American Political Science Association; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; the Gerontological Society of America, and the Veterans Health Administration.


Watch the video below to hear Dr. Walker explain quality and what it means for the Good Samaritan Society and those we serve.


Jul 14, 2014

(Canton, S.D.) – Over several decades, Albert Van Laar collected and meticulously rolled more than 244,000 pennies. Earlier this year, Albert’s wife, Nancy, donated the collection to Good Samaritan Society – Canton, where Albert now lives.


“I just think this is where it belongs,” Nancy says of the nearly $2,500 worth of pennies. “It’s home ground. This is where it all began.”


Albert and Nancy met at the Canton center in 1992, when Nancy was working as a certified nursing assistant and Albert was visiting his sister, who was a resident there.


Nancy was touched by Albert’s devotion to his sister. “He was very funny and young at heart,” she says. “He is a wonderful man.” Nancy and Albert will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary next year.


With the effects of Alzheimer’s now taking its toll on Albert’s health, Nancy says it is important to her to share Albert’s legacy with the people and places he loves.


Albert’s penny collection began in the 1960s as a way of calming his nerves during difficult times.


“Besides God, Albert was my rock. That’s why his care is so important to me—now I am the one he needs.”


Click here to learn more about the services at Good Samaritan Society – Canton.


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Jul 14, 2014


Many of us have a favorite Bible verse. It may be one that we memorized as a child in Sunday school, or one that meant a lot to us during a difficult time in our lives. We recently asked residents and staff members at our Good Samaritan Society locations what their favorite Bible verse is—here’s some of the responses we got:

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