COVID-19 vaccination clinics, operated by Walgreens and CVS, are taking place at Good Samaritan Society locations across the country.

There’s a sense of urgency to get the vaccine at Good Samaritan Society – Le Mars in Iowa, where resident Karen Breuer knows how brutal the coronavirus can be.

“I think it’s great. I think we need something. I lost three friends in 10 days with COVID,” Karen says.

Those friends lived in town, not at the Society, where Karen has lived since suffering a stroke and undergoing surgery for a twisted stomach.

“I mean when I came in here, I was like a rag. I just couldn’t do nothing. I’ve come a long way,” Karen says.

Protecting residents and health care heroes

The Le Mars center provides long-term care and rehabilitation services. Its staff is essential, and activity director Teresa Petty can’t wait to move past the pandemic.

“It’s a big day. I was so excited when I woke up. It’s almost emotional because it’s been a lot to watch the people here go through what they have in the last 10 months. To know that this is the first step in putting that all behind us is huge,” Teresa says.

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, she’s done her research.

“I talked to my doctor. I talked to a couple relatives in my family who are in the medical field. The information that I got, I felt 100% safe today getting the vaccination,” Teresa says.

Vaccine providing hope

Getting the vaccine can hopefully open doors back up for visitors again. In the meantime, workers here are building a safe visitation room for the residents and their families.

“They are definitely what keeps us going every single day. What we do, we do for them,” Teresa says.

96-year-old resident Mary Anne Herbst is about as sweet and funny as they come.

“Didn’t feel a thing,” Mary Anne says. “I wonder if she did it.”

Mary Anne has been living here since May. Thanks to puzzles, papers and daily calls from her “boys” she stays plenty busy.

“They really want me here so I don’t get this virus,” Mary Anne says.

With dozens of staff and residents choosing to get vaccinated, the center should be one of the safest locations in northwest Iowa.

“What’s a little shot in the arm? It’s no big deal,” Mary Anne says.

Getting through it together

Erin Palmer, the director of nursing here, agrees. She’s worked hard to dodge COVID-19.

“I don’t want to get it. I don’t want to take it home to my mom who’s not in the greatest of health,” Erin says.

So she’s rolling up her sleeve. One by one, her co-workers and beloved residents are doing the same to help end the pandemic.

“I just think it’s terrible. I just wish it never started but it has. We have to do something about it to get through it,” Karen says.

And we’ll get through it together, Karen says. She’s grateful for her new family at Good Samaritan Society.

“They are really great. I would have anybody that has to go to a nursing home, I would say come here,” Karen says.

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