One of the joys of small town living is how everybody pitches in to help out. A recent project to build a gazebo for a nursing home in Galesville, Wisconsin made it to the finish line with some help from a big company with small town spirit.
Marinuka Manor is a 59-bed municipal nursing home managed by Bethany St. Joseph Corporation, in picturesque Galesville, population about 1,400.
The nursing home had been working on a gazebo plan since the summer of 2014, said administrator Leah Rentmeester. The previous gazebo had been in “bad shape” and was removed when the parking lot was redone to address drainage issues.
“Our residents advocated for a new gazebo,” said Rentmeester. Official plan development started in fall of 2015 and plans were finalized in January 2016. A fundraiser began in March 2016 to cover the cost of materials, with the initial plan for construction to be performed by the local high school shop class. However, when the class realized the project was an over-commitment, Marinuka was left without a labor force.
Rentmeester turned to her family for help, calling her brother Jason in the Twin Cities and asking if he and their dad, Paul, could volunteer their time to get it done. It was a big project for the two to take on, so Jason, a project manager for Kraus-Anderson, approached his employer for assistance.
Terry Hart, director of operations at the Circle Pines, Minnesota office, consented to lend a team of builders for a day to work on the gazebo project. KA General Superintendent Jim Bergren pulled together a team including Superintendents Jack Bronczyk, Brandon Lawson and Jesse Fiskewold; Yard Manager Eric Domino, Chris Johnson, a carpenter foreman from the KA Rochester office; and Jason. The gazebo team traveled to Galesville and knocked out most of the work on Friday, May 20, with an enthusiastic audience of Marinuka residents.
“Many of our residents watched the building of the gazebo and enjoyed it immensely,” said Leah Rentmeester. “We are a small town and serve a lot of people who worked construction or on farms throughout their lives. Many of the men would watch for hours and would then reminisce about their past work projects they had done. The women enjoyed watching the men build the gazebo as well and several times we had large groups outside enjoying the sunshine while watching them build the gazebo.
At the end of that day, though, there was still some work to be done.
“I was at the grocery store across the street and saw the gazebo was up,” said Galesville Alderman Randy Larson. “I pulled in just as the KA guys were leaving, then I realized it wasn’t done yet. I figured , as a citizen, I could volunteer and help. I said, see you tomorrow.”
Larson, a carpenter by trade, showed up the next morning at 9 with scaffolding, and joined the Rentmeesters, Leah, Jason, their dad Paul and mom Christine, to roof the gazebo and install soffit fascia.
“They’re all hard workers,” Lane said. “I knew Leah was going the extra mile for the nursing home, and I wanted to help,” he said.
On Tuesday, May 24, Chris Johnson returned to the site, joined by Ben Kloos, Circle Pines yard employee. They finished the siding, completing the project.
“Jason, Jim, Eric, Jesse, Jack, Brandon, Chris and Ben were all fantastic people, with all-business demeanor, and a joy to be around,” said Paul.
The completed gazebo has become an instant amenity, receiving daily use since its completion.
“It’s a win-win for the residents and for the community,” said Larson.
“The residents just LOVE it,” said Leah Rentmeester. “They do group activities out in the gazebo, open the windows and do a newspaper or book reading or other activities. Residents have gone out for a group activity early afternoon and then refuse to come in until dinner because they enjoy it so much. They love to watch the movement of the city around them and with the high school, grocery store, and Main Street. They get to do a lot of people watching.
“Families and friends of our residents have been coming to visit, taking their resident out to the gazebo and sitting enjoying talking or playing cards,” Leah Rentmeester said. “We even had a family and their resident enjoy happy hour out in the gazebo this past Friday. In addition, we have had families request to use the gazebo for their resident’s birthday party later this summer,” she said.
“I cannot express enough of how much we appreciate and how grateful we are that Kraus- Anderson was willing to do this,” Leah Rentmeester said. “Thank you so much for everything you did!”