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Society news

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

Center news highlights

Aug 28, 2015

Click the video above to meet volunteer Ellen Dodd.


(Peoria, Arizona) – “Psalm 37:4 says, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart’ — and the desire of my heart is to serve the Lord, period,” says Ellen Dodd, a resident and volunteer at Good Samaritan Society – Peoria Good Shepherd. “My work and my volunteering is just for the Lord, and I love every single thing that I do.”


Ellen moved to Peoria Good Shepherd three years ago, and immediately began volunteering. She helps in several areas around campus, always bringing a faithful heart to the time she shares. Her time with other residents is particularly special to her.


“I come on Mondays usually from 2 to 6 and visit the residents, and take some of them out on the patio or wherever they want to go,” Ellen says. “Then at 3:15, we do a ‘talking with God.’ I look up and find stories that are inspirational. Then I put Scripture verses to those stories, and we discuss the verses in the story.


“And whoever wants to pray, they pray, and I close in prayer. And then we all say the Lord’s Prayer together.”

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Center news highlights

Aug 24, 2015

(Syracuse, Nebraska) – When Lenora Kastens celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by friends and family at her Linden View home, she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love.


Her party was a small reflection of the many people she’s met and loved in her century of life. Here are some of her memories of them.


Linden View resident Lenora Kastens is pictured (standing, far right) with her siblings and parents in the 1930s.


A typical Nebraska farm life

Lenora grew up on her family’s acreage between Unadilla and Syracuse. They had previously lived in Missouri, but moved to Nebraska when Lenora was 2 years old.


“My aunt and her family had moved here and she told them it was such a nice place that they should move here also,” Lenora says.


Her father, Emmet Sewell, worked for a farmer. Her mother, May Sewell, stayed home with Lenora and her four siblings. They played games together on the farm, and helped May with gardening and canning. For fun, they’d go into Syracuse on Saturday nights to watch movies outside.


Church was very important to the family, too. “My mother made sure we all went to church and attended Sunday School,” Lenora says.


Clarence and Lenora Kastens on their wedding day in 1934

A family friend becomes
a lifelong sweetheart

One of Lenora’s neighbors introduced her to a friend, Clarence Kastens, and the two began to date.


They loved to go to Syracuse to watch movies outdoors, play cards at friends’ houses, and go to dances — “Although Clarence didn’t like to dance, just socialize,” Lenora says.


Clarence and Lenora were married Feb. 22, 1934, at North Branch Church just outside of Syracuse.


They welcomed two sons: Rolly in 1936, and Roger in 1939.


Teamwork on the farm

Clarence farmed and custom baled for other farmers in the area. “Because of the custom baling, Clarence would sometimes not get home until after 9 p.m.,” Lenora says. “I remember many times having to hand-milk eight cows by myself and feed the hogs while the kids sat in their stroller at the end of the sidewalk.”


Virtually all of the family’s food came from right there on the farm. Lenora had a garden, and they raised laying hens, chickens, hogs and cows. Lenora canned a lot of the meat they butchered. “The meat was so good, and convenient to just take off the shelf, warm up and eat,” Lenora says.


Lenora and Clarence's sons, Roger and Rolly, on their family farm in 1941.

A thrilling coffee hour

In 1960, Lenora and her daughter-in-law, Carolyn, were invited to have coffee in Syracuse at the home of their friends Frank and Emma Sorrell. But it wasn’t a typical coffee with friends.


“Frank was a hometown community guy and was very active in the Democratic Party,” Lenora says. “They hosted a coffee for John F. Kennedy’s mother, Rose, while she was out on the campaign trail soliciting votes for her son before he became president. It was a thrill for us to be there.”

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Center news highlights

Aug 21, 2015

Kissimmee Village resident Rachel Terry recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

(Kissimmee, Florida) – With her 100th birthday approaching, Kissimmee Village resident Rachel Terry wondered what gift she could give herself that she hadn’t ever received.


Her answer came in the shape of a floating feather, tattooed on her back in celebration of her century of life.


Here are some more details we learned when talking to this amazing woman.



Tell us about your childhood.


I was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1915, but my family moved to Columbus, Ohio, shortly after I was born.


My parents died when I was 4. I lived in an orphanage, Franklin County Children’s Home, with 250 kids. I was adopted when I was 12.


I graduated high school in 1935 from Columbus East High School.



Tell us about your family.


I was married three times, and raised seven children. A good marriage is a treasured thing. I believe in setting boundaries for kids.


I value friendship, integrity, accountability and having a grateful spirit.


Mac, my special friend, lives in California. He calls me every morning and evening, and we rotate visiting each other quarterly.



What kinds of jobs did you have throughout your life?


I worked in an airplane factory during World War II.


After I had my third child, I earned a degree in nursing. I worked nearly 40 years in emergency rooms and private duty, and retired in 1979.


I was a greeter at the St. Thomas V.I. airport. I enjoyed serving as a dancing ambassador with the Mungo Niles Cultural Dancers going on goodwill tours all over the United States.


And I won Ms. U.S. Virgin Islands in 1989. My daughter was also awarded with this title in 2000.



"I’m a morning person. I like to wake up fresh with the sunrise.

Every day, you can hold your head high —

there’s a big world waiting for you."

– Rachel Terry, Kissimmee Village resident


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Center news highlights

Aug 20, 2015

Catherine DeVries


(Pipestone, Minnesota) – For Catherine DeVries, caregiving means working for free so she can spend more time serving people.


Catherine is a volunteer at Good Samaritan Society – Pipestone, doing many of the same tasks as the paid staff members. She smiles as she explains the arrangement.

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Center news highlights

Aug 19, 2015

Felipe Garcia didn't let an extraordinarily long, cold walk keep him from seeing his home care clients.

(Golden Valley, Minnesota) – Living through cold winters is just part of life in Minnesota. There are days when the cold and wind are so biting that the only moments you spend outside are the quick run from a building to your car and back.


It was one of those biting cold days when Felipe Garcia’s car broke down.


Felipe, a registered nurse, is a case manager at Good Samaritan Society – Home Care in Golden Valley, Minnesota. As part of his job duties, Felipe makes routine visits to home care clients and coordinates care and therapies.


That morning, he was on his way to nearby Waconia to see several clients.


“All of a sudden, I heard a noise,” Felipe says. “My car broke down, and the engine
just shut down.”


He called a tow truck to haul his car to a repair shop in Waconia.


As his car was being worked on, Felipe knew his clients were counting on him. So he grabbed his backpack and nursing bag, stepped out into the cold, and started putting one foot in front of the other.


Without a car but with sheer determination and commitment, Felipe braved the bitter winter weather and walked to check in on every one of his clients that day.

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