Society offered hope when staffer felt hopeless

"It gave me a sense of value again," says senior living sales specialist Traie Dockter

Good Samaritan Society employee smiles in sunny chapel with cross-shaped window behind her.

Finding connection with others at the Good Samaritan Society can be a lifesaver.

Singing “Amazing Grace” with piano-playing resident Dorothy Manz, Traie Dockter can’t help but think of a tumultuous time before her service at the Society.

“That’s my story. I was lost. I was in a very dark and lost place. I came to the Good Samaritan and it gave me hope. God helped me see light,” the senior living sales specialist says.

‘Socially disconnected, emotionally in pain’

When Dockter isn’t shining on residents at Good Samaritan Society – Heritage Grove, she’s moving people into one of the 94 apartments or spreading the good word out in the community of East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

“Oh, Traie! She’s just always ready to be here and handy. Anytime I need her there she is,” resident Jeannine Aflaa says.

Before joining the Society five years ago, Dockter’s life was heading in a different direction.

“I’ve been moved by her growth. I just see a confidence in her that was not there when I first met her and I’m grateful for that,” administrator Michaun Shetler says.

Underemployed or without work for four years and going through a divorce, the mother of two was applying for two positions a day with no luck.

“I was socially disconnected, emotionally in pain. Financially, I was a wreck,” Dockter says.

“It was just dark and I felt like I was in a hell. I just didn’t see any of me anymore and I couldn’t imagine what in this world would change where I could ever have anything like the life I used to have.”

Digging out

The Concordia College graduate with a master’s degree from North Dakota State used to have a solid marketing career.

“I remember the day that I was lying in a fetal position in my bed and the sheet and blanket covered my face. I couldn’t breathe really well and I didn’t have the energy to move the sheets. That was probably the darkest day,” Dockter says.

Digging out of that depression began when Dockter finally received her calling.

“When I first met Traie, I felt she’d be an excellent fit with the Society,” says Shetler, who hired Dockter. “With Traie, you have consistency and reliability. She is really excellent at what she does and I’m so grateful she is on our team here.”

Support from the Society and the relationships built within these walls mean the world to Dockter and those she serves.

“The mission of the Good Samaritan Society, to me, means that every person has value,” Dockter says. “People need quality work that feeds their soul. They need something that they feel good about every day and to be able to provide for themselves. So they have a sense of pride and dignity. That’s what I’ve got here.”

‘Gave me a sense of value’

Fresh off working graveyard shifts in retail, Dockter says the Society’s faith-based environment gave her hope.

“I was able to sit and listen to people and God’s word and music and share devotions,” Dockter says. “It gave me a sense of value again. I wasn’t just a workhorse but this was a community of caring. I really missed that for so long. Sometimes, we’d sit in devotions those first two weeks and I’d sob uncontrollably.”

She was exactly where she needed to be.

“I can see where people come to a place where they don’t want to live this life anymore and that’s a sad place to be. It’s a scary place to be,” Dockter says. “We all go through challenges and struggles, and our challenge is to try and get to the other side of that because there is hope.”

An important piece of the community in East Grand Forks, residents and Dockter’s team members say she makes the Society a better place.

“Oh my goodness. It’s a steady place where I know I’m safe and it’s lots of fun,” Aflaa says.

She adds that when Dockter is around, it gives her a “good feeling” that “makes me happy.”

“The Good Samaritan Society is an awesome place to work,” Dockter says. “There are caring people here. It has an amazing culture that’s built over 100 years. This is a special place and I would encourage anyone to work at the Good Samaritan Society.”

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Posted In Sanford Stories, Senior Services