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Osakis Voices: A look back at 29 years at Galeon

When a guy like me approaches retirement after a long and satisfying career, he starts thinking about things — lots of things. Things like, "What just happened to those 29 years at Galeon Senior Living of Osakis?"

When you do the math, there are the simple things like having driven 60,320 miles just to get back and forth from home to the nursing home. Or, at a conservative estimate of three a day, having consumed over 780 cups of coffee with coworkers and colleagues during meetings and breaks.

Then there are the more complicated things like having prepared for and attended over 350 board and special meetings where we diligently and thoughtfully worked together to spend around $120 million or so. Yikes! It's very hard to spend that much money! When you're trying to comply with state and federal inspectors who have visited and surveyed your workplace about 50 times over the course of your career, though, maybe spending that much money isn't really that difficult. Regulations are very, very expensive!

The fun things that I've found myself thinking about always make me smile. Like the time one of our residents found his way into my office and relieved himself in my coffee cup. Can't blame them, but the staff of Community Memorial Home enjoyed that one, a lot! Or, the time I watched a little dog bite my fingers after I had reached down to pet him in a resident's room. I'm more careful now when I reach down to pet little dogs.

I've always thought that having fun at work is an important ingredient of a successful career, even if the fun we've had is at my expense. I'll never forget how more than a few people took secret pleasure in my pain when a drunken neighbor drove his minivan through my office late one cold and rainy night. Or, when a frozen pipe burst right over the top of my office desk. Oh, the fun times we've had!

Looking back over the last 29 years, I also find myself thinking about all the things that are truly meaningful and of which I am most proud. For example, I have had the pleasure to work with hundreds and hundreds of kind, caring, skillful, dedicated and compassionate employees while we worked together to provide care and services to way more than 2,500 people in our community who needed our help. It has been such a pleasure to consider myself a "caregiver" alongside these great friends and co-workers.

Perhaps the thing I will remember most, though, is having served under many different directors from our board over the years who have given of themselves in ways that will continue to make a lasting mark on our community. Somehow or other, Galeon Senior Living of Osakis has succeeded in balancing a medical model of disease managed and entitled care (i.e. the nursing home) with empowering wellness and prevention services (i.e. Club Galeon) that will continue to help you, me and the residents of Galeon Senior living experience better quality of life. That's really cool!

On this final day of National Nurses Week, please join me in thanking a nurse you know who works hard every day to keep us healthy all year long. It has been my pleasure to serve as the Administrator of your community-owned long-term care organization. Thank you, all, for helping me through the years.