September 6, 2019
Volunteers of America and Samaritan Bethany
The tour rolls into high gear in Minnesota, with a great day visiting two unique organizations. I arrived at Samaritan Bethany early in the morning and am greeted by three residents dressed in costume. Rita Hawkins had them ready to roll! Every visit is like the proverbial box of chocolates: you don’t know what you’re going to get until you open the door. We had a brother-sister duo and an Elvis impersonator ready to cruise and croon. Jakob in our office had given me a Swedish hat to wear sometime during the 60/20 journey and it turns out this crowd was the right gang! The residents gave me a tour of Rochester, and for the first time in my life, I saw the Corncob water tower. The residents were all super fun and I loved hearing how one of them worked at the Mayo Clinic for 35 years in the first building that they opened! Thanks to the energized Samaritan Bethany staff for going all out to treat me to this adventure.
Then off to VOA in Anoka, one of the flagship communities for the Volunteers of America. Our 15 + year relationship brings to mind why the 60/20 idea was hatched. Wayne Olson – longtime friend, colleague and mentor – bought into iN2L in the early 2000s. I vividly remember the day in 2004 he proclaimed in front of 40+ administrators at an internal VOA conference that within 12 months he wanted iN2L in all of their communities. I was stunned. I sat in the parking lot after that meeting, got choked up, called my brother and co-founder Tom (now sadly deceased) and had a “maybe we’ll make it after all” conversation!
VOA hosted a great party for us, with some residents having a great time taking the Driving Simulator for a spin. Then it was off to cruising and crooning. Not sure how many of you out there remember this SNL skit about more cowbell, but we recreated it VOA style. You’ll have to wait for the video to get the full effect. Loved the conversations and the energy of the resident crooners. I love this gig and feel blessed to be able to do for several months!
Wayne, in all seriousness, thanks for believing in iN2L. You helped make us something we could not have been on our own.