Residents have much to be thankful for

BALDWIN — For many of the residents at Grand Oaks Nursing Home, Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday—it is something in their hearts every day.

Ken Kauffman, president of the residents council, said he’s had a good life and doesn’t have any regrets.

“I don’t worry too much about the future, and the past is the past. I am thankful for my two kids and grand-kids,” he said.

Mike Hudzinski, a temporary resident, said in his short stay at the nursing facility he has learned to really appreciate and be thankful for what he has in life.

“I am glad my time here is going to be short, only a couple more weeks,” he said. “I am thankful for my health and my luck to go back home soon and to still have family. I have learned some people aren’t as lucky to have family left or a home to go back to. Just being here I have learned to really appreciate what I have.”

Esther Siebeneicher said when she first went to the nursing home she did so hesitantly because it was such a big change, but she has really come to love it.

“I am thankful there is a place like this where people can be cared for. All the aides are so very sweet and have become a part of my life. I am also thankful for my family and church family and for God. Without the Lord I feel there wouldn’t be any use living.”

Pat Washburn said she is thankful for her family, her daughter and grandchildren who make many visits to see her.

Margaret Peterson’s list of things she is thankful for is simple and sweet, as well as Jannene Corey’s.

“I am thankful for my friends and family, my husband and children,” Peterson said.

“I am thankful for food, water and Christmas,” Corey said.

Activities Director Christine Engels explained Corey is often singing Christmas songs, even way before the holiday.

Marie Cox expressed thanks for many things.

“I am thankful that I have a wonderful land to live in and wonderful people around with friends and family to enjoy. I am thankful we can enjoy our families on Thanksgiving,” she said.

In the activities room several residents were around a table chatting merrily with staff aide Diamond Burrel, who chimed in, “They are thankful for their friendship with Diamond.”

Janeane Comer agreed with Burrel.

“Ladies love diamonds, and this girl here is a genuine Diamond,” Comer said. “I am also thankful for my good health, to wake up every morning and for my mother and father.”

Opal McRill said she was thankful for her family and everything else.

“I like it here,” she said.

Phylis Slator, a native of Illinois, said, “I am definitely thankful for my friends. I call them family, especially because my own family is so far away, living in Illinois.”

Joan Matuk said, “I am happy being here and having a lot of friends. I really love it.”

Barb Wolever expressed similar sentiments.

“I am thankful just to be here,” she said.

Some of the staff also expressed much to be thankful for.

“I am thankful for my family, the residents here and the relationships formed,” Burrel said.

Engels said, “I am thankful for the loving heavenly Father, who is so forgiving. I am also thankful for my family—for my husband and son and my parents who are very supportive. I am thankful for my church family and for the lovely residents here.”