Photos: Small town says goodbye to its nursing home

Health

1 The recent closure of the 33-bed Good Samaritan Center in Hoffman, Minn., leaves Grant County with just one nursing home, in nearby Barrett. The closure also means Hoffman has lost its largest employer, and local residents are still coming to terms with the repercussions. This photograph of the center in Hoffman was made on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. 
2 Jeanne Gunderson, 87, was the first resident to leave the Good Samaritan Center in Hoffman, Minn., after plans to close the nursing home were announced unexpectedly in early October. Gunderson, like many others, moved to the privately owned Barrett Care Center in Barrett, Minn., which is located 7 miles away. "It's OK," said Gunderson. "I miss my friends." 
3 Just three names remain listed in the resident directory at the Good Samaritan Center in Hoffman, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. The nursing home's last resident left for another facility that morning. The center recently closed. "It was one of the best nursing homes around," said longtime nurse Jelene Backman. "We went five years without raises. People stayed because they loved it." 
4 Administrator Bill Brewer pauses during a tour of the Good Samaritan Center in Hoffman, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Many of the 50-some employees at the nursing home now find themselves out of a job. Brewer will continue working as administrator at the Lakeview Good Samaritan Center in Glenwood, Minn. The Hoffman center has lost $1.5 million over the past several years, according to Brewer. "Who is going to sustain that?" he asked. 
5 Hugs and tears were in abundance at the Good Samaritan Center in Hoffman, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, as remaining staff members said good-bye to each other and their place of employment. Here, nursing assistant Kelly Johnson, far right, embraces nurse Donna Huntley. Huntley has worked at the nursing home in Hoffman for nearly 24 years. Also pictured is nurse Beth Nowling, left, who said she plans to take a little time off. 
6 An assortment of employee badges rest in a wall-mounted rack at the Good Samaritan Center in Hoffman, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Many of the nursing home's 50-some employees are now without jobs because of the center's recent closure. 
7 If the city of Hoffman, Minn., had a cheerleader she would most certainly be Muriel Krusemark. As economic development coordinator for this western Minnesota town of 700, Krusemark has played a huge role in bringing back downtown. The recent closure of the local nursing home will have an impact on Hoffman. The city is currently collecting information and trying to evaluate all options. 
8 Muriel Krusemark, economic development director for the city of Hoffman, Minn., walks down Main Street on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. City officials, local families as well as residents of the Good Samaritan Center in this western Minnesota town were caught off guard by an announcement in early October that the community's lone nursing home would close in 60 days. "There was no opportunity to save it," said Krusemark. The facility was built in the mid-1960s and was purchased by The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society in 1993. 
9 Roger and Marilyn Schoephoerster have been married for 60 years. Marilyn cared for Roger in their Hoffman, Minn., home for more than five years after he suffered a stroke. In early 2009 he moved into the Good Samaritan Center. When plans to close the nursing home were announced unexpectedly in early October, the Schoephoersters - like at least 10 other families - made arrangements to move to the privately owned Barrett Care Center. "It's been quite an emotional thing," said Marilyn who now drives 7 miles one-way to Barrett instead of walking across the street to visit her husband. 
10 Faye Giese, left, helps her 87-year-old mom, Jeanne Gunderson, get ready for an evening meal at the Barrett Care Center in Barrett, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. The family has strong ties to the nursing home in nearby Hoffman, Minn., but its recent closure forced Gunderson to move. Gunderson played piano at the Hoffman nursing home for more than two decades as a volunteer and her husband, Wally, was a resident there for a few years before his death. Giese worked at the nursing home as a teenager and later returned in a professional capacity. "It's really said," said Giese, who like many Hoffman residents wonders what the closure's trickle-down effect will be.