100 years is a crowning achievement and a good excuse for the parade of the century at Good Samaritan Society – Windom in Minnesota.
“This is our one king,” Lindsey O'Brien, Society activities supervisor, says as she puts a sash and crown on resident Leo Mau.
The 102-year-old is one of nine residents turning 100 or more this year. All are celebrating with a special march.
First, you have to look the part.
“Do I look OK?" resident Dorothy Gulbrandson (102) says with uncertainty in her voice.
Lindsey, outfitting everyone with their royal attire, quickly replies, “You look gorgeous. I promise.”
Society turning 100
The residents aren't the only ones reaching the century mark and beyond in 2022.
“In honor of the Good Samaritan Society’s 100-year anniversary this year, we wanted to honor our clients,” Nancy Wepplo, Society administrator, says
At every location, the list of clients and residents is a representation of its surrounding communities.
“They built our communities," Nancy says. "They still are a part of that community."
"It’s important to honor that. Especially someone who’s been around for 100 years."
Leo is a World War II Army veteran, a Purple Heart recipient and a jokester. He's turning 103 in August.
When asked if he feels 103, he laughs and says, "Yes I do."
“It was a struggle as soon as I got born. Every day was something different. I had to fight it all and here I am."
Lindsey adds a sincere, “We’re so glad to have you."
Escorting each resident through the march are National Honor Society students from the nearby high school.
“I love speaking with elderly people and everything that they’ve gone through and listen to all of their stories,” senior Kaylan Donchez says.
'Quality care' important to Society's longevity
So, what does it take to make to 100?
“Oh, I knew you were going to come with that one,” Evelyn Pankonin, turning 102 in May, says. “Each day is another day, and live it."
Lorraine Jacobson, 101, is more specific. “Work hard. No drinking, no smoking. Exercise."
Leo offers his two cents. “Try to play it straight. Do your part. Don’t overdo it."
Staying active at the Society helps. Lorraine finds her freedom at the independent living location.
“I do what I want to do. Go when I want to go. Stay home when I have to,” Lorraine says. “Play cards, Bingo, dominoes, Scrabble."
Home these days means being surrounded by friends and caregivers – health care workers from an organization celebrating 100 years of service in September.
“I think providing good quality care. Really being a part of the communities that our facilities are in. I think that’s a huge part of it,” Nancy says.