Society strives to be top veterans’ employer, care provider

Half of residents at Iowa long-term care location served in the military

Society strives to be top veterans’ employer, care provider

Good Samaritan Society – Indianola, just outside of Des Moines, Iowa, isn’t an official veterans home.

But march down hallways and peek into rooms and you’ll likely find yourself in the company of heroes.

Warriors such as Vietnam Veteran Buster Allred.

“My care is excellent,” says Allred, 72.

His wife Kathy Allred adds, he has a rare progressive neurological disease called corticobasal degeneration.

While she visits her husband of 54 years daily, she depends on Buster Allred’s caregiver Ivy MacDonald.

“She makes me laugh whenever I’m here,” Buster Allred says with a smile. “She’s one in a million, isn’t she?”

Kathy Allred says that attention “means everything. This man is my life.”

Your service makes a difference: Search jobs at Sanford Health and Good Samaritan Society

Society administrator Natasha Blackburn says half of the roughly 80 residents at the long-term care center served in the military.

“We have a large portion of our residents who are veterans and we’re very honored to serve them here in our community,” Blackburn says.

The nursing home contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s also part of the Society’s mission to be a provider and employer of choice for veterans.

“I feel like we’re giving back to them like they gave to our country, so it hits home. It really feels good. To hear their stories just amazes me,” Blackburn says.

A place for honoring military service

World War II pilot and author Ralph Alshouse just celebrated his 100th birthday.

“That was the best in World War II,” Alshouse says pointing to a photo of Corsair fighter plane. “We flew day and night. Good weather, bad weather. When Admiral Halsey wanted airplanes, he got airplanes.”

Alshouse credits his longevity to getting his vitamins and surrounding himself with good people.

“They’re helpful, friendly, kind, thoughtful, considerate. You want more?” Alshouse jokes when describing Society staff.

Steps away from Alshouse’s room is a special gathering place with photos honoring service members at the nursing home.

“This area that we’re in right now is our veteran honor area of the building. I’m trying to get it up and running to where they play cards in the evening and that they get more connected than they already are,” Blackburn says.

Looking at his military photo on the wall, Army veteran John Vermace says, “it makes me feel proud.

“They thank the veterans now for what we’ve done.”

It’s something he didn’t experience during the Vietnam War.

“It’s very significant that we can care for veterans and give back to them like they gave to our nation,” Blackburn says.

Whether it’s an honor area, veteran-focused activities or just coffee and a story, it’s about caring for the person next to you.

“I’m proud that they are remembering us,” Vermace says.

“I love it. We need more.”

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Posted In Inclusion at Sanford, Senior Services, Veterans