Larimore, N.D., nursing home raising funds for community wellness centerWhen Calvin Peterson, a former resident of the Good Samaritan Society’s nursing home in Larimore, N.D., heard of an effort to bring a community wellness center to town, he set aside some money to donate. Proponents of the center learned last year after he passed away that he’d left $110,000 for the project.
By: Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald
When Calvin Peterson, a former resident of the Good Samaritan Society’s nursing home in Larimore, N.D., heard of an effort to bring a community wellness center to town, he set aside some money to donate.
Proponents of the center learned last year after he passed away that he’d left $110,000 for the project.
Rita Raffety, the nursing home’s administrator, said those funds gave the project momentum. “Because we had the money, we decided we had to build it.”
She and other wellness center proponents next secured a $100,000 challenge grant from the Engelstad Family Foundation, meaning they have to raise an equal amount by March to access the funds.
Besides giving the community more exercise options, the wellness center, attached to the nursing home, will make the nursing home more a part of the community, keeping its residents from feeling isolated, Raffety said.
Larimore is a town of 1,300 about 30 minutes’ drive from Grand Forks on U.S. Highway 2, but she said she can see the wellness center drawing from other nearby towns, such as Michigan and Inkster.
The idea of a wellness center in town emerged in 2010, and community leaders did a survey that fall to find out how interested residents were in having one.
Out of 248 who responded to the survey, 91 percent said they would use a wellness center in Larimore and 83 percent thought residents of other communities would as well, according to Raffety.
Peterson was aware of these discussions, and must’ve made up his mind to help.
“I know why it appealed to him,” Raffety said. “He had a severe stroke. He’s just one of these people with very strong work ethics. He worked hard and was able to gain his mobility back.”
Peterson thought he would’ve benefitted from a wellness center, she said, and wanted others to have access to one as well.
The Good Samaritan Society got help indirectly from another former resident as well. Mary Stockton, Betty Engelstad’s mother, was a resident for many years. That connection has gotten the group support from the family foundation over the years, according to Raffety.
The new 1,700-square-foot wellness center would offer a therapy room for nursing home residents’ use, and exercise equipment such as treadmills, weight machines and stationary bikes that can be used by those with disabilities, she said.
The goal is to attract people of all different ages and abilities, she said.
Construction could start in the spring of 2013 if the Good Samaritan Society can raise the $100,000 by December, she said, though the Engelstad foundation’s deadline is March 1.
There’s been some discussion of user fees, she said, but none has been settled on until the final fundraising results, which may include other grants. The goal is to keep it affordable, she said.
Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.