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It’s all in the family: One-third of employees at Good Samaritan Society related to another one of employees

Working at Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea is becoming a tradition for some families in the community.

Of the about 185 employees working at the care facility, about 60 of those employees have family ties, said Janelle Merkouris, director of marketing and community relations.

Merkouris said she and Executive Director Katie Davis started counting all of the employees who were related to each other.

“Once we started, we were astonished at how many had family ties,” Merkouris said.

Three of those people are Jodi Thompson, director of health information; Roxann Kluender, nurse manager; and Kelly Honstad, director of nursing.

Thompson is Honstad’s mother and is a sister to Kluender.

Thompson said she also used to have a daughter who worked there.

“It’s a good place to work,” she said.

She said they find it funny to see how surprised people are when they find out they are all related.

Lorna Meister, director of food and nutrition, said she has had seven grandsons who at some point worked at the facility, though currently there are three, who are also in college. They have worked in the dietary department as dietary aides and cooks.

Meister said she has worked at Good Samaritan Society for 20 years and has found the care facility to be a good place for her grandsons to start in the workforce.

Sharon Evenson and her husband, Jamie, both also work at Good Sam — one as the assistant director of nursing and the other in maintenance.

She said they had children who worked there at some point, too.

How do so many family members work at the same place?

Merkouris said there are many opportunities for growth for staff for employees, and they like to treat their employees well. In addition, there are some scholarship opportunities available to help further their education.

Several of the employees talked about how the residents like to joke with them once they realize they are related to another one of the employees.

 

What is National Skilled Nursing Care Week?

National Skilled Nursing Care Week, formerly known as National Nursing Home Week, was established by the American Health Care Association in 1967 to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. This year’s theme, “Live Soulfully,” celebrates skilled nursing centers, their residents and staff by showcasing how they achieve happy minds and healthy souls, according to the association.