Good things ahead: St. Mark’s celebrates 60th anniversary

Published 6:26 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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On Thursday afternoon, St. Mark’s resident Gloria Fedson and her daughter Jan Christiansen were looking through a scrapbook filled with stories and pictures of St. Mark’s Living over the past 60 years.

All beneath a balloon reflecting Thursday’s anniversary when the facility held an open house to mark the special occasion.

“It’s really nice for us to be a part of it,” said St. Mark’s Executive Director Justin Boldt in reference to the storied history of the facility. “It will be even more exciting when we hit 100. It’s a good feeling to make it to 60 years.”

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Built in a campus orientation, St. Mark’s has been able to serve clients through the years in every step of their journey, making it a unique offering in the community.

And it’s been something that’s stood out for those who have worked within the facility, backed by the fact that many are long term employees.

Boldt said that since COVID, employee retention rates have shot up to 70% and that they are fully staffed in their nursing home area and mostly staffed in other areas. It’s allowed them to move away from agency-assisted staff that have helped fill the gaps in the challenging years of the COVID-19 pandemic and those that followed.

St. Mark’s Living celebrated it’s 60th anniversary Thursday. Eric Johnson/

“We have retention in our leadership and staff,” Boldt said. “We have over 35 employees that have been here for more than five years. We had 10 employees that were here for more than 30 years.”

Having staff that can maintain that sort of long term stability has created a strong base for the 60-year-old facility in which relationships are built and fostered.

“I would say it’s the relationships between the staff and residents,” Boldt said. “We have a  really talented staffing group. They usually stick around because they enjoy working with the residents and the residents do the same thing. I think it’s the relationships that are built that make it the most special.”

Lindsey Sailor, St. Mark’s clinical director for assisted living and memory care, has been one of those long time staff members, having come to the facility eight years ago.

Since then Sailor has worked her way up through several positions to get where she is now, and she said it’s because of the people she works with and for, as well as a facility that is an all-in-one place for people that can make use of all the departments.

“Especially the position I’m in now, it’s really nice to see that you need this kind of care so we can help with transition,” Sailor said. “The moving transition is very hard on them so it’s nice to keep them in the same facility with familiar faces for them.”

With the coming of the 60th anniversary celebration and their staff can now look forward to the next 60 years. And while it’s hard to say what St. Mark’s will look like that far down the line, staff are excited for what’s to come.

St. Mark’s will soon be reopening its Transitional Care Unit, which has been closed for a number of years, as well as reopening a previously closed memory care wing.

For many at St. Mark’s, it’s the light at the end of a tunnel that has stretched for the last few years.

“We’re coming out on the other side from all of the challenges we faced over the last three years,” said Assistant Executive Director Bridget Manahan. “I think it’s going to be amazing for the community.”