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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

Sep 25, 2015


(Arthur, North Dakota) – It's not a typical day's work for Abby Vandelanotte, but cleaning up a cemetery is giving her and other co-workers a special glimpse into the history of the Good Samaritan Society.


Abby, who works in accounts receivable, and 11 other Good Samaritan Society staff members recently had the opportunity to spend some time in Arthur, North Dakota, on a mission trip.


"We’re taking an overrun cemetery and sprucing it up and making it look good again," says Jane Teal, a Society accountant and one of the staff members working alongside Abby.


Twelve Good Samaritan Society staff members came together for mission work at the organization's founding location in Arthur, North Dakota.

"It’s the cemetery in which our founder is buried and which many of the first residents are buried," says Judy Ryan, a former president of the Good Samaritan Society.


Caring for this legacy is meaningful to the group, says Rebecca Hodgson, administrator at Good Samaritan Society – Arthur.


"It’s a respect thing for me, I think, because we need to honor these folks," Rebecca says. "We care about our community. We care about the lineage and the heritage here."


And for Greg Wilcox, senior pastor and vice president of mission effectiveness, it's also a family thing.


"For the last three or four years, when I would come and visit I would see the overgrown bushes and trees and monuments, and it was a little bit of a heartache because I have both my mom and dad buried here, as well as other
family members and other people in Good Sam."


Bob Blom, a Society business analyst, explains that plans began a few years ago.


"The recon started two years ago as part of the annual bus tour to Arthur for new employees. And out of that experience I noticed the unkempt status of the cemetery," he says.


"The opportunity presented itself. I was then able to come up here for a day and walk through the cemetery and the center and began to envision what we might be able to do with the skills and talents we might be able to bring up on a mission trip."


The crew worked to clean momuments, dig out old grass and weeds, and clean up rocky areas and overgrown trees.

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Center news highlights

Sep 24, 2015

"I just get joy when I come here," says Pastor Paula Mehmel of Good Samaritan Society – Arthur, a place she has come to love.

(Arthur, North Dakota) – When Pastor Paula Mehmel was offered a job at Good Samaritan Society – Arthur, she admits she was hesitant at first.


Her mother, who has dementia, is in a nursing home, and a few years ago, Paula's children watched their 51-year-old father die in a nursing home.


But it turns out life at a Good Samaritan Society nursing home isn’t anything like what Paula expected. “And I’m so very grateful for that,” Paula says between spiritual activities she leads for residents.


“I just get joy when I come here,” she says. “This is not a depressing place. This is a joyful place.”


In her role as chaplain at the rural North Dakota skilled care center, Paula offers spiritual support to the seniors who live there. Some have lived in the area their whole lives and have family nearby, but many don’t.


“There are a large number of individuals for whom the Good Samaritan Society center really is their community, really is their home,” Paula says. “That’s one of the things I really appreciate about being the chaplain here. There is that sense that you’re part of a family here.”



"This may be the last stop
on their journey,
but their journey hasn’t stopped. And they see that."


The deep friendships and camaraderie throughout Good Samaritan Society – Arthur inspire Paula.


Especially, she says, “with the residents, and their ability to find joy. This may be the last stop on their journey, but their journey hasn’t stopped. And they see that.


“Whether it’s engagement in Bible study, or bingo, or the activities, or the conversations, or the relationships that are built at the table, the care that they have for one another, that happens all the time. And it’s an act of joy. I see it everywhere.”



Click the video above to hear Pastor Paula talk about what she loves most about being
a chaplain at the Good Samaritan Society.

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Center news highlights

Sep 22, 2015


Q: What's worse than finding a worm in an apple?
A: Finding half a worm!
– Esther Gruneich


(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) – It's a brisk fall morning at Good Samaritan Society – Sioux Falls Village, and Esther Gruneich is working at an apple-peeling station, just as she has for years.


"For four years I've been active in this project in some capacity," she says. "There is just something special about working with apples that are homegrown. And, of course, they taste better."


Spread around her are buckets of apples, bins of apples, tubs of peels, and cores, and skins and slices. Most of the apples are a vivid green, but a few red ones stand out, just as they do on the 25-year-old trees behind Esther's home in the skilled care center.


Also at the table are Esther's new friends, staff members from the Good Samaritan Society's National Campus, which is located a few miles from the center. The group spends the morning with residents peeling, coring and slicing the apples, which will be turned into pies for an upcoming event.




Volunteers give the gifts of time, talent and love. If you'd like to share your unique skills
with one of our centers, we'd love to have you!

Click here to learn more about volunteering at the Good Samaritan Society.



"We wanted to volunteer to help out the center," says Jackie Harris, who came to Sioux Falls Village with four of her co-workers. "It's a team activity, and we're glad to be giving back. Also, hanging out with the residents and staff is meaningful, too."


Jackie and the other staff members say volunteer sessions like this are more than a chance to do something good for the community. They're a chance to connect with residents like Esther and share in their wisdom.

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Center news highlights

Sep 14, 2015

Thanks to caring co-workers at Good Samaritan Society – Postville, Rachel Ann Sajche was able to focus on recovering and seeing her husband and children as much as possible during a five-month hospital stay.

(Postville, Iowa) – In a hospital nearly 80 miles from her home, Rachel Ann Sajche fought for her life for more than five months.


She had been working as a certified nursing assistant at Good Samaritan Society – Postville when she underwent surgery to remove her gallbladder. Complications kept her in the hospital for the next several months.


And that’s when Rachel found that the kindness and support of her co-workers knew no bounds.


Rachel spent a week in intensive care after her surgery. “At first, the doctors didn’t think I’d make it,” she says.


The fluids she had to receive made her gain 100 pounds. Her pancreas was almost destroyed, and she was on feeding tubes for several weeks.


The hospital she was in was an hour and a half drive from Good Samaritan Society – Postville. The distance didn’t seem to matter to her co-workers.


“When I was in the hospital, plenty of people brought food, money and gift cards,” Rachel says.


Her sister, a charge nurse at the center, and other co-workers also donated their paid time off hours to Rachel so she could continue to receive an income while she recovered.

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Center news highlights

Sep 04, 2015


(Olathe, Kansas) – Mary Cook's mother tried teaching her to crochet, but Mary says it was hard for her to relate to the kind of activity her mom enjoyed doing in her downtime.


Today, however, as a resident at Good Samaritan Society – Olathe, Mary says she's found a new way to relate to her mom — and to others. Mary is part of a group working to crochet mats for homeless community members.


"It’s through a faith-based organization, and they’d like to have a hundred mats made by Christmas to hand out," says Denise Hahn, wellness director at the Olathe campus. "They don’t expect us to do all 100, but we’re trying to do our part. The mats are made out of plastic bags, so it’s a win-win situation. We keep these out of the landfills and we’re also putting them to good use. We call it 'plarn,' for plastic yarn."

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