It has been a wonderful time of the year to celebrate our community and heritage through volunteerism and gracious acts of giving and generosity. Two major events filled our schedules in July including the Winneshiek County Fair representing our youth through the FFA and 4H programs, our families by sharing time together and building memories, and spectacular events for the whole community. We also celebrated our deep heritage at the Nordic Fest, which brought together a fantastic array of long-standing community traditions.

Our congratulations go out to Steve Langland, President of Aase Haugen Homes, for his recognition and awards in volunteerism and community support. The Winneshiek County Fair Board presented Steve the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his distinguished service and longtime volunteering with Fair activities. Steve was also honored as an Inductee to the State 4-H Hall of Fame for 2022.

Other notable contributions and volunteerism shined through our own Aase Haugen community, which sponsored the first Annual Home-Grown Floral Arrangement Contest at the Winneshiek County Fair. It boasted 13 arrangements submitted by area contestants and was a great success. And the winners were… Syd Stephenson – First place, Grace Blikre – Second place, Julie Buddenburg – Third place, and we were honored to also be joined by 2022 Winneshiek County Fair Princess, Savannah Solheim.

In reflection of Aase herself, over 100 years ago, it is important to continue her vision of giving selflessly to others in need of family, community, and a sense of belonging. In that spirit I’d like to give very special recognition to the individuals who supported and represented our Aase community through their giving of time and talent. A huge thank you goes out to our Aase volunteer judges which include:

  • Betty Storla who worked in the original Aase Haugen home in the countryside and personally enjoyed the experience of the huge flower gardens which filled the Aase properties in those days. Betty still works for us today at the Vennehjem senior living complex!
  • Joellen Foels the owner of The Country Garden flower and gift shop in Decorah. Out of a true sense of giving and compassion, without any request for recognition, she has provided and continues to do so, boutonnieres and corsages to Aase Haugen residents every month on their birthdays and delivers them, all at no charge!
  • Rita Ludwig, a master gardener and Vennehjem community member, who serves on the Vennehjem Garden Committee and recently spearheaded garden improvements for the campus and continues to beautify our lovely grounds.
  • Jodi Kappas who is the H/R Director at Aase Haugen and a flower enthusiast.

Looking forward, Aase Haugen is proud to be sponsoring the memory garden for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Decorah on Saturday, September 17th.

We provide the area’s only CCDI Dementia Unit - which stands for Chronic confusing or Dementing Illness. Our specialized staff care for people who have been diagnosed with intermediate and advanced dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. We encourage you to join the walk and donate to help find a cure.

In closing I want to present a challenge to all of us in remembrance of Aase and her commitment to others and Aase Haugen Senior Services mission of giving, support, and community – The next time we feel compelled to make a request in order to receive, that we pause, and instead consider what we may give.

Sam Boeke

Sam Boeke, MBA, COM Executive Director

flower contest winners at the fair

Aase Haugen Executive Director, Sam Boeke, congratulates flower contest winners at the fair. From left, Sam Boeke, Grace Bilkre (2nd), Syd Stephenson (1st), and Julie Buddenburg (3rd).

Nordic Fest 2022