Generations of same family serve Good Samaritan Society

Former nursing home administrator reflects on people they cared for

Three older adults who have worked at the Good Samaritan Society pose for photos in their kitchen.

Flipping through old photo albums at a Good Samaritan Society – Prairie Creek twin home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Cindy Moegenburg is realizing many aspects of her life are filled with memories made at the Society.

“I’ll never forget the relationships I had within Good Samaritan,” Moegenburg says.

It started with an apple pie

A newly minted nurse in 1973 working at a hospital near Laurens, Iowa, Moegenburg says her first connection to the Society came via a local administrator. The woman dropped off an apple pie at Moegenburg’s home as a welcome to the community.

“She was a smart lady. She brought a glass pie plate,” Moegenburg says with smile. “She knew I’d return it, I’m sure.”

When Moegenburg went to the nursing home to bring the plate back, she was given a tour that included the daily devotion.

“I just know it was heartfelt and the residents appreciated it and responded. They sang and it felt like it was inviting me to part of the Good Samaritan Society,” Moegenburg says tearing up.

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Moegenburg joined the Society in 1973 as a nurse in Laurens. She’d be the location’s director of nursing within three months.

“I deeply loved it. I’ve always been a caregiver. So, as I went into other positions, it was always about the residents and about the family members and providing the best quality of care,” Moegenburg says.

When she was a successful administrator, Moegenburg received a special visit.

“I remember Augie Hoeger coming and putting his feet up on my desk when I was the administrator and saying, ‘Cindy what do you think you want to do within the Society?’ I looked at him and said, ‘I’m doing it,’” Moegenburg says laughing.

‘When people feel called, they go the extra mile’

After 40-plus years of service, Moegenburg retired in 2014 as the organization’s chief operating officer.

“When people feel called, they go the extra mile. That was always evident in every Good Samaritan,” Moegenburg says.

“In Christ’s love, everyone is someone.”

In Moegenburg’s family, it kind of feels like everyone is someone who wants to care for others.

Her husband Ron was an administrator in Postville and Ottumwa, Iowa, for decades.

“I liked to deliver mail personally to the residents’ rooms. That was always fun,” Ron Moegenburg says.

“You just got to love them (residents). That’s all there is to it.”

He’d wrap up his commitment to the Society in purchasing at National Campus in 2004.

‘Have them feel engaged, valued and supported’

Down the street at Good Samaritan Society – Sioux Falls Village, Moegenburg’s son T.C. Fraser is actively carrying on the family tradition.

“Pretty much lived with the Society my whole life,” Fraser says. “I got to go there after school and see and make relationships with the elderly population. Thanksgiving, Christmas, that’s where we had celebrations.”

Mentored by mom and former Society leader Judy Ryan, Fraser is now an administrator himself.

“I think he waited until I retired and he was smart to do that,” Cindy Moegenburg laughs. “But he is a caregiver. He’s been a CNA. He loves the people. He loves to have fun with the people. For a mom, it’s a pretty proud moment.”

“It’s special,” Fraser says. “Not only just the rich family tradition we have but the mission of helping people and taking care of the people that really need it.

“Have them feel engaged, valued and supported is my No. 1 priority.”

One of his newest residents is his aunt Rennae Petersen.

“I just think it’s so wise to move into a caring community. How much better can it be than that?” Petersen says.

Petersen moved into a twin home this May, steps away from where her and Cindy Moegenburg’s mom Phyllis lived for more than 20 years.

“We really believe in the continuum of care. That was something we were looking for everywhere we went. Moving into the village there’s a security with that,” Petersen says.

‘The foundation of this Society is still evident’

It’s been a safe place for seniors now for 100 years.

“Being there for people and anyone in need and finding a way to provide care and services for them,” Cindy Moegenburg says about the Society’s history.

In addition to the group above, several more of Cindy Moegenburg’s family members have connections to the Society.

Her grandpa, John Olinger, was a resident at the Laurens and Holstein facilities.

Her dad, Rev. Walt Erdmann, was a Society volunteer who started a men’s group that met weekly. He and Cindy Moegenburg’s mom also developed a one-day camp in Okoboji, Iowa, for Society seniors.

Cindy Moegenburg’s sister Celeste Eld served as a hospice director, director of social services and more at a Society location in Idaho.

Finally, Eld’s daughter Serenity spent some time as a medication aide at Prairie Creek.

Fraser adds it’s incredible “how many people we have cared for in that 100 years. How many families, residents we’ve impacted that we’ve made relationships with.”

Those efforts are still taking place to this day in hundreds of locations across the country.

“The foundation of this Society is still evident around us,” Petersen says.

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Posted In Sanford Stories, Senior Services, Sioux Falls