100 acts of kindness are taking place at Good Samaritan Society – Ottumwa in Iowa. Staff and residents are giving back this year to celebrate the 100 years the Good Samaritan Society has been blessing communities with much-needed health care.
“We are all about doing good things for people,” Society activities supervisor Sarah Meeker says.
In addition to financial and material donations heading to a local homeless shelter and Ronald McDonald house, residents are packing up items for new moms.
“We did hand soaks, lip balm and homemade soaps that we are going to give to new mothers at the hospital when they have babies,” Meeker says.
“We want to be Good Samaritans and so we want to give back.”
‘They need to shoot for 200’
Donna Smithhart has lived at the long-term care center for three years. Before that, she’s had a number of family members come through the location as residents.
When it comes to the Society’s 100-year milestone, Smithhart says, “long may they live. They need to shoot for 200.”
Activating an army of resident volunteers at the nursing home, Meeker says the older adults are living with purpose by volunteering their time and talents.
“They still have a reason to want to be. They still want to be able to give to people, to help people, to bring life to them. That in turn brings them joy,” Meeker says.
Team members, their kids and even grandkids are also getting in on the giving.
“I’m helping with the activities and I’m here with my parents to just help them,” 8-year-old Mara Mamlock says.
Mara’s parents are nurses at the Society.
“I’ve been pushing around residents (in wheelchairs),” Mara says. She adds “it’s fun” to volunteer.
Veterans honored with special plaques
Not all 100 acts are happening this day, but many meaningful moments are, including a special salute.
“Vets have always had a special place in my heart. My dad’s a vet,” Meeker says as a few Ottumwa community members present veteran residents with plaques calling out their military service.
“I think this is wonderful,” veteran and resident Frank Wilson says.
Plaques too precious for words for emotional Air Force veteran James Horton.
After a few minutes of silence, Horton utters, “(I’m) sure no hero, I’ll tell you that.”
The plaques are meant to be placed on the wall outside the residents’ rooms.
“They can’t be forgotten because they are the reason that we are able to sit here today,” Meeker says.
‘You are well cared for’
While these vets fought for freedom, the Society continues to fight for those in need of long-term care.
“Well, it’s got a roof over my head for one thing,” Smithhart says. “Once you get here, you are well cared for.”
Passionate about spreading positivity at the center and in Ottumwa, Meeker says the future is bright.
“Good Samaritan as a whole, Sanford as a whole, we rock. How could you get any better?” Meeker says.
“We can believe in God here. We can share our faith. Faith and our hearts, it’s a big part of who we are. The Good Samaritan. Just kind people, genuine people who love our community, who love our people. Our residents love us and we’re family. We want to just bring that to life and put that to the forefront.”
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