Elsie (Janni) and Erwin Portner were married May 6, 1945 in Searles MN at St. John’s Catholic Church.
Erwin worked as a carpenter most of his life and Elsie was a homemaker as well as being employed by 3M Company of New Ulm.
Both were very active in the community as well as their parish church.
They did not have children so their nieces and nephews have become especially important to them. Both have been close with their living siblings as well.
After living an honest life together, the couple retired at Orchard Hill Assisted Living in New Ulm in 2010. At Orchard Hill, the couple loved to play Bingo, Sheep head, 500, Dominoes, and enjoyed social gatherings and musical entertainment… (especially old time music).
As the couple aged to 96 and 91, the need for more nursing care for Erwin became evident and they recently moved to Oak Hills on May 1st where they will celebrate 70 years of marriage.
Orchard Hill Assisted Living has been involved in a program called “Dreams do come true” (along with other communities from Welcome Home Management Co.) and when asked what Erwins dream was one afternoon, he responded by saying, “I would like to take Elsie out on one last date…but I can’t do it…I have no way of taking her out.”
So, Community Life Coordinator, Cindee Schewe decided to take action. She contacted Knight’s Luxury Limo service near Comfrey, MN to see if owner, Richard McMullen would be willing to transport the couple. He said “yes”, and from there the dream began to develop.
Schewe then called the Kaiserhoff. They also said “yes” to two meals compliments of the Kaiserhoff. A to Zinnea Floral got wind of the story and offered flowers for the occasion, the Liquer Mart of New Ulm jumped on board with champagne for the elderly couple. Schewe spoke with Kevin Sweeny from the New Ulm Journal and he agreed this was a story to be told.
The Limo bus holds 16 people so Schewe contacted family members to join Elsie and Erwin in the limo ride of their life. The bus was filled in no time and Erwin’s dream of taking his wife out on a date will come true Wednesday, May 6th to celebrate a beautiful marriage of 70 years!…dreams really do come true!
Dreams. We all have them. Big or small, we all have them.
Think back to your earliest memory as a kid. You had dreams then. Maybe it was to be a firefighter. Maybe it was to be a ballerina. Maybe it was something small as having your own radio.
Dreams don’t end just because we grow up. We still have dreams. Our residents still have dreams.
Dreams for our kids, dreams for our grandkids, dreams for ourselves. We are what we are. A bunch of dreamers. But what would it look like if we could make dreams come true?
To each of us, our dreams are very personal. It’s part of what makes us who we are.
What has been amazing about this program is not just the dreams that we have helped make happen. It has been the response from the community. The overwhelming support to make these residents have that opportunity to realize their dream.
Today there are Random Acts of Kindness happening every day, and today, we have a chance to do just that for the residents here at Prairie View.
Each dream touches not only the resident, but it touches their families and friends. It touches our team here at Prairie View, and just as important, it touches each one of you in this community.
We were very happy that everyone had chosen to spend this gorgeous afternoon with us to support and celebrate dreams. We would like to thank the many volunteers, organizations and businesses that have done so much to support this program, and have seen it all the way through to this moment Without you, this would not be possible. We have listed those at the bottom of this post.
Our event was really something special for each person.
Eva’s dream was to simply have a Chicken Dinner again. You know the kind. With all the fixings. The kind we used to see at holidays and family celebrations. Well, Eva, that Dream is probably shared by many of us here, and on May 8th, you and all the residents of Prairie View will be served that traditional meal.
Phyllis loves fresh produce. She especially enjoyed her time going to Lundstrum’s to pick fresh produce over the many years. Well, Lundstrum’s can appreciate that feeling. They understand what a feeling it is to find just the right piece of produce. During the upcoming Summer Months, Lundstrum’s would like to give you a basket of fresh produce every week. Your granddaughter-in-law, Jennifer, has agreed to deliver your basket to you each week.
How many of us can think of time that we enjoyed the simple act of going for a drive and having an ice cream cone along the way? Well, that is Lorraine’s dream. And on May 12th, she will be going on a drive, taking the scenic route, of course, and stopping by Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. Simply an enjoyable afternoon.
Edna has dreamed of exploring Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls, and to have a picnic lunch in the park during the adventure. Well, on May 29th, Edna’s dream will come true as she becomes an explorer for the day at Ramsey Park. We’ll be sure to pack a picnic basket full of picnic favorites for your adventure.
Phyllis and Doris have wished for a long time that they would be able to go with their sister to see a play at Chanhassen Dinner Theater. We shared their wish with Chanhassen Dinner Theaters and they have so graciously donated the Director’s Table on May 6th for these lovely ladies to join their sister to see Mary Poppins. They will also be served dessert and coffee while at the show. Enjoy the show, ladies!
Muriel used to enjoy the crab legs served at Jackpot Junction in Morton. She even used to bring her own pliers to open them (she told us it was a needle nose pliers by the way). Well, her dream was to go back again to have that seafood dinner with crab legs. Well, Jackpot would love in invite you down to visit for that Seafood dinner, and hope that they get to see you very soon. We’ll begin planning your trip very soon!
Next up were Lois and Marie. These ladies had the simple wish to go back to Green Lake in Spicer for a trip around the lake. And with this nice weather we are having today, how many of us would dream of being there, too. Well, with the generosity of Mr. Keith Heikes of Factory Direct in Hutchinson, your dreams will come true. Keith has volunteered make this dream come true. The staff of Prairie View will work with these ladies and Keith to set-up their excursion date in the near future.
For many years, Glenn has just wanted another day to be at home, on his farm, and enjoy a grill out with sweet corn. Well, Glenn, your family is going to make this come true for you. They will watch the weather, and wait for just the perfect moment, and they will bring you out to have a grill out with sweet corn. It sounds delicious!
For those of you that may know Jerome, you know he is an avid Twins fan. Probably knows every stat for every player currently on the field, and for teams’ past. Well, this Twins hat has been donated to Jerome to wear. And thanks to a generous contributor, Oak Grove Financial, he will attend a game! On May 27th at 12:10pm, Jerome will be at Target Field watching the Twins play the Red Sox. Enjoy the game, Jerome! Go Twins!
Marj’s dream is to update her entertainment center and television set. Well, with much appreciation, we are pleased to announce that Circle and Lori Clasemann, Marj’s dream is coming true. Circle is providing the new entertainment center and TV, and Lori will be bringing the new TV.
Elaine, her late husband, and several couples use to go to meetings, and dine together at Peter’s on Lake Ripley of Litchfield. They usually had the ribs. YUM! Well, almost everyone in that group have passed, leaving only Elaine and one other remaining. Elaine’s dream was to go with this special lady for an exceptional evening at Peter’s. And with their generosity, they are giving you a gift certificate for you and your friend to join them on May 13th at 5pm for Ribs. It sounds delightful!
When we visited with George about his dream, we learned that he and his late wife use to frequent Athmann’s Restaurant in Bird Island. Every Sunday, you could find them there for brunch. George’s dream was to go back there with his entire family. Well, we stand here today to share that this dream already came true. On April 12th, George’s entire family arrived and took George out to brunch at Athmann’s. The day was a wonderful moment for this family. They even had a photographer to join, to capture this moment when all could be together. Today, we present George a photobook, created by his family, of their day together. We extend our appreciation to George’s family for making this dream a reality.
When Don was asked what his dream was, he simply stated that he wanted a red barn with a green roof. Well, the Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Shop Students and their instructor, Stephanie Supa, wanted to make this dream come true for you. We thank each one of you for making this dream come true through this amazing gift.
While raising her family, it was not uncommon for Lois to prepare Potato Pancakes for Michelle. In fact, it was one of her favorites, too. She loved Potato Pancakes. She also loved her dog, Buddy. Lois’ dream was simple. I want to have the food I love, and have a chance to see her dog that she loved. Well, we are happy to announce that just today at Lunch, Lois got to enjoy Potato Pancakes. And we are very happy to share the spotlight with her dog, Buddy, as they have come to visit.
Marion always enjoyed going to Hahn’s Fine Dining in Winthrop. She dreamed that someday, she would be able to go back to Hahn’s, with her family. Well, Hahn’s would love to see you again, too. They extend their best wishes, and a gift certificate to you to join them in the near future. They would love to see your family there, too.
Theresa’s dream was to have a Glamour Shots-type photo shoot. Hair, Make-up, the whole shebang. Well, Theresa, on May 16th due to the generous donations of Nancy Fosland from Totally You Salon of Hector and Justin Baysinger a photographer from Hutchinson, your dream photo shoot will become a reality. You will begin your shoot with Nancy for Hair and Make-up at 8:30 and then travel to Hutchinson for your photo shoot. We can’t wait to see the photos!!!
Our next dream is one from a resident who is no longer with us. Dorothy grew up in New Finland, and since they were so close to it, they were able to have a personal menu full of seafood. They had a lot of it. Living here, we don’t always see seafood options on our menus, at least not the kind that Dorothy had in mind. Her dream was to share her love of seafood with the residents of Prairie View. And on May 14th, the residents of Prairie View, along with Patti Jo and Bruce, will be enjoying a Lobster and Prime Rib dinner in celebration of Dorothy and her dream.
This crew’s dream was to travel to visit Canterbury Park. Well, that dream is about to come true. We are finalizing the day now, but soon, each of you will be heading to Canterbury for a wonderful afternoon adventure. We would like to take thank Curt Sampson and Canterbury Park for making it possible for us to make this dream come true.
We have so much to be thankful for, here at Prairie View, and we would like to extend our most gracious thanks to those that made this day such a successful event. For those that contributed, or are contributing to the fulfillment of these dreams, we want you to know that your generosity is greatly appreciated. To our residents, their families, their friends, and to this community – your ongoing support of Prairie View cannot be forgotten. You help us make this place such a great community for our residents, and we are so grateful. And finally, we thank the staff working at Prairie View, and would ask that you join me in a round of applause for everything they do, every day to make our residents’ dreams come true. We are so very fortunate for all of you.
We would like to extend a very special thank you to one of our staff that showed such strong vigor for making today possible. Through many phone calls and visits, she has kept track of every detail. She has helped make this day a success. I ask that you join me in a round of applause for Dana, our Community Life Coordinator. For you, for me, for all of us – dreams are incredibly important.
As you can see from the images above, today was an emotional day for the residents, their families, our team members, and for the community of Hector. To see businesses close their doors so they could make today’s event, tells you the level at which people care for each other in this wonderful community and how important this was to each of them.
This program was made possible with the contributions of the following people and businesses.
- Martin Bros Distributing
- Chanhassen Dinner Theatre
- Keith Heikes & Furniture Direct – Hutchinson
- Oak Grove Financial
- Prairie View of Hector Culinary Department
- Circle & Lori Clasemann
- Curt Sampson & Canterbury Park
- Peter’s on Lake Ripley
- Justin Baysinger Photography – Hutchinson, MN
- Chuck Blum, KOLV
- Hahn’s Fine Dining of Winthrop
- Athmann’s Restaurant
- Lundstrum’s Produce
- BLHS Shop Students
- Stephanie Suppa
- Totally U Salon
- City of Hector
- American Bar & Grill
- Babe’s Blossom’s
- St. Andrew’s Catholic Church – Fairfax
- Flower’s by Jerry
- Hubin Publishing
- Prairie View of Hector staff
Welcome Home Management has helped facilitate this award winning program for the past 10 years in several of their communities and we are very proud of our team members at Prairie View of Hector for all of their hard work pulling today’s event together.
Bill Hudson from WCCO-TV even came out to do a story on our program. You can view the story on their website by clicking here.
If you would like more information on Prairie View of Hector, please visit us on our website at: http://www.wtohdevelopment.com/Hector.htm
Welcome Home Management is based in Hutchinson, Minnesota and manages eleven senior living properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Roman Bloemke, Director of Operations
We all have them.
Big or small, we all have them.
Think back to your earliest memory as a kid.
You had dreams. Maybe it was to be a firefighter. Maybe it was to be a ballerina. Maybe it was something small as having your own radio so you could listen to a ballgame, or catch up on the Top 40 music charts.
Think about today, we still have dreams.
Dreams for our kids, dreams for our grandkids, dreams for ourselves. We are what we are. A bunch of dreamers. But what would it look like if we could make dreams come true?
To each of us, our dreams are very personal. It’s part of what makes us who we are.
10 years ago, Welcome Home Management set out to help make dreams come true. It started with something that we thought was really urgent.
A resident of ours approached us and expressed a desire to see her sister who was in poor health, in another state, one – last – time. Through a lot of brainstorming with our community life coordinators, we hatched a plan to get the resident to see her sister one last time. It was a lot of work, but you know what? It was totally worth it. From that moment, we realized that helping people realize their dream was not only important – it was the right thing to do.
What has been amazing about this program is not just the dreams that we’ve helped make happen, it has been the response from each community as well.
Today there are random acts of kindness happening every day, and today, we have a chance to do just that for the residents here at Prairie View.
People from all over have heard about this program and wanted to find a way to “do the right thing”. To get involved to help another person fulfill a dream that they have. To me, that is what makes this program so unique and special.
To date, we have helped see over 150 dreams come true. Some were big, some were small, but to us, each one, was incredibly important.
Each dream touches not only the resident, but it touches their families. It touches our team here at Prairie View, and just as important, it touches each one of you in this community.
I want to say a special thank you to the team at Prairie View of Hector for seeing our program and realizing that it was something special that they could do for people who they already consider part of their family. I also want to thank those that helped pull today’s event together. And finally to the donors who are donating their time, their talents, or their ability with our residents. We simply could not have pulled today’s event off without each and every one of you.
Thank you for being part of our special day here at Prairie View. Your presence and help in making these dreams come true will be remembered forever.
Roman Bloemke, Director of Operations, Welcome Home Management Company
This week, we have had the pleasure of hosting 70 of our team leaders here at Welcome Home for our Winter Conference.
Yesterday, we had a wonderful beginning session with a friend of ours, Steve Gasser. Steve is one of my friends and is an inspiration to me in many ways. I invited Steve to come and speak to our group about the 3 Guiding Words, a program I started working through after being introduced to it by Steve and a few friends two years ago. My personal guiding words are my replacement for a new year’s resolution. Over the past two years, I’ve participated in a group that did this exercise from a personal level, and I thought this would be a great exercise for our team to do as well.
Steve walked the group through one of the more fascinating and impactful sessions we’ve ever had at our conferences. All throughout yesterday, team members continued to approach me and told me how his session was maybe one of the best they had ever heard.
That’s pretty high praise, but you know what? It really was.
At the end of yesterday’s session, Steve asked our team leaders to do this exercise for themselves. We heard a few of the words, and to say we were impressed was an understatement.
We decided to take it one step further and have our friend, Lena Mowlem, take the words and write them in to a story that would be just as impactful for them.
This morning, Lena came and read the interpretation of their words. What follows comes from our team members 3 Guiding Words.
This year I will take action.
I will be adventurous and
I will motivate and be
I will experiment and create,
challenge and support.
I will encourage quality
success and step out of my
shell with confidence.
I will rejuvenate, relax and
I will enjoy life and share
kindness and joy.
I will give generously and
I will connect with my
community and embrace it
I will believe in
belongingness and charity,
dependability and continuity.
I will have patience.
I will communicate, plan and
I will simplify and eliminate,
practice self control and step
I will present balance and
practicality, thriftiness and
I will slow down and practice
I will move, and focus on
health and fitness.
I will enjoy the outdoors, ride,
embrace a healthy lifestyle,
and inspire growth.
I know I can achieve these
I will be social, and commit
the time and tools to do so.
I will live, laugh, learn,
I will thrive on trust and truth,
and find strength in my faith
I will love more, believe
more, respect more, please
more with a genuine passion.
I will create new memories
and be fulfilled by the ones I
I will cherish bravery and
peace and honor me.
I will dream.
Want to talk about inspirational? Thoughtful? Amazing?
Yeah, we thought so too.
We may be biased, but we really believe we have the best team members out there. This has been one of the most amazing groups of people to work with. Each of them care in a way that should set the standard of care for senior living communities. We are proud to call them a part of our team and in many ways, a part of our family. Thank you to our team for all that they do, day in and day out. Your work is inspiring to us and is very much appreciated by the residents you care for, and by their families who have chosen you to care for their loved one.
Roman Bloemke, Chief Operations Officer, Welcome Home Management Company.
The Sunshine Awards began in 1985 as a way for WEAU viewers to publicly thank others for acts of kindness and good deeds. Our devoted staff works tireless hours without even looking for a thank you.
They all have hearts of gold that are willing to help in a moment’s notice. The staff looks at all of the residents as their parent or grandparent.
The management team of Woodstone expresses our sincere gratitude and thanks to the staff for all of their hard work and dedication to their Woodstone Family, without each and every one of you the residents would be lost and wouldn’t have someone to help them meet their daily needs!
We asked a few of our staff to why they love working here?
Lauren, a care provider in in our memory care community said “The residents make sure to keep my life full of positive energy”.
Another care provider, Morgan K. states: “I love working at Woodstone because I find it rewarding, it puts a smile on my face, and even when I’m having a bad day the residents can make my day so much better.”
Cassie T., says “I love working at Woodstone because the residents I work for have me leaving every day with a smile whether it’s because I got a hug or a smile while telling them goodbye for the day or a coworker helping me with a task that needs to be done before going home. The residents and staff are my reasons for loving this job.”
Jen K. says “I worked retail my entire life so this was a huge change for me, I love working with theses residents they are an amazing group of people.”
What does this job mean to you?
“The job means everything to me, it is a very important job and I put everything into it. When I’m on the clock the residents deserve my full and undivided attention, when I am working and that is what I do when I work.” Morgan stated.
“My job has a purpose and it’s to make sure the residents are taken care of and knowing that they are healthy and happy makes me happy.” Lauren says.
“I was really struggling with where I wanted to work after my last job this has been such a rewarding job to have, heartbreaking at times but still very meaningful.” Jen says
“This job means a lot to me. I love knowing every day that I come in to work that I am making a positive difference in my resident’s life.” Cassie
What does this award meant to you?
“I’m so honored to know people appreciate the hard work that the memory care staff deals with every day.” From Lead Care Manager Lauren.
Care Provider Morgan states, “this award makes me feel really good that I can help make someone happy and cheer someone up. It is very important to leave your problems at the door and put a smile on your face to cheer people up and make them happy.”
Care Provider Cassie says “This award means a lot to me. It show appreciation for what we do
every day. It shows that people really do appreciate what we do and how hard we all work. It’s
good knowing how much people trust us to care for their loved ones.”
Care Provider Jen says, “Very grateful to the families of the residents”
What do the residents mean to you?
“The residents mean so much to me and that’s why I do this job. They come first and they
make the job rewarding. The stories they tell and the smiles they can put on my face even in
the frustrating moments is the most important part of the job for me. The residents is why I
enjoy this job so much!!” Morgan.
“We are a big family, they fill a huge spot in my heart!!” Lauren.
“All of them are special in their own way, I love working with all of them they have become a
very important part of my life” Jen
“The residents mean so much to me each and every one of them are like a part of my family.
While working with the same people every day and getting to know them on such a close,
personal level they become a part of your life.” Cassie
Woodstone Senior Living is grateful for all the love and support we receive from our residents
families and support groups. We all do our jobs to make sure your family member’s needs are
met every day!!
Woodstone Senior Living where lasting memories are made every day!!
Starting in January, Woodstone started an Outstanding Award Program to recognize individuals for their outstanding effort and job well done in helping make this Senior Community a great place to live. Meet our kitchen staff, all who have been nominated as a whole for their passion to make wonderful food for our resident’s here at Woodstone.
Jerry and Carol Notch, family of Teckla Notch, nominated the whole Kitchen Staff for their job well done. “We have had guests several times and everyone is always impressed,” said Carol Notch. On January 3rd, The Notch family had 5 guests that they brought to Woodstone to eat with their loved one and everyone was served a delicious meal very efficiently, and it appeared, without any stress. “The meals, as always are awesome and very plentiful and the accommodations are very homey” stated Jerry & Carol Notch.
The kitchen staff is led by the Food Service Director Tanya Jacobs. Tanya has been with Woodstone since October, 2014 and enjoys riding motorcycles and spending time with family and friends any chance she can get. Tanya is very excited to lead the kitchen staff here at Woodstone and provide wonderful healthy food to not only our residents, but their guests as well.
Patty Borchardt has been with Woodstone the longest since June, 2014. Patty is a great team player in the kitchen and recently has won the “Grace under Pressure” award at the 2014 Holiday Party. Patty’s willingness to help out can stretch out for miles. When she isn’t in the kitchen here at Woodstone, you can bet you could find Patty enjoying time outside and shopping with her daughter.
The rest of the staff may be newer to Woodstone, but they are a great addition to the team. They all bring lots of experience to the kitchen and making the food experience for our community here at Woodstone top notch.
If you would like to nominate any staff that you have seen going above and beyond and you would like them to know they are doing a great job, please nominate those individuals for our next monthly award. Nomination sheets are located in the Woodstone staff office.