Meet Brandon Wieskamp, CNA, from Aase Haugen Assisted Living. Brandon is certified as a nursing assistant and in medical management. Brandon has had a variety of employment experiences that include working as a butcher in a locker and working with kids and adults with disabilities.
He grew up mostly in southeastern Iowa towns and in West Liberty before moving to Northeast Iowa.
“I earned my CNA and medication management certifications and found that this career is the perfect ﬁt for me,” Brandon says. He has worked in Aase Haugen Assisted Living for two years and says, “The tenants here are fabulous. Their stories and experiences are incredible and I learn a lot from them. I think people who are looking for meaningful work and something they can be passionate about should work here. This is a great organization.”
In his free time Brandon enjoys ﬁshing, kayaking and riding bike – his longest bike ride to date has been 65 miles!
With the new building in the future for Aase, Brandon says, “I feel conﬁdent about the new building. It will be great for the staff who are working really, really hard in this building. It’s good we all get along and are willing to help each other out and the new place will be so good for our residents!”
– Brandon Wieskamp , CNA & Assisted Living team member at Aase Haugen
Meet Marie Hanson, one of the happiest people on earth!
She was raised on a farm near Spring Grove, MN,
in the little village of Wilmington. “I was a farm girl,” Marie recalls. “I graduated high school and worked in La Crosse and then married Harold “Link” Ellingson.” Together they had four children, Sharon, Susan, Randy and Renee. “I’m so proud of my kids and how hard they work and plan for the future,” says Marie with a twinkle of pride in her eye. “I moved to Aase Haugen to be closer to my children.” She also has 11 grandchildren.
Marie worked in a nursing home and the community schools for several years and after Harold passed from a heart attack, she married Chester Hanson. Marie traveled to every state in the union and at a recent class reunion one member asked, “What was your favorite place, Marie?” To which she answered, “All states were interesting, but you know it’s Minnesota! You can’t go back on your own home state!” Marie has a true positive outlook on life and ﬁnds happiness and humor in most everything. At 97-years-young, she says the secret to a long life is to do all things that make you happy. “Every time I see my grandchildren I say, “I love you, be good, and then you’ll be happy.” She adds, “I’m happy because I choose to be happy. I’m thankful for what I’ve had and what I have today.”
Marie is an avid card player and says in her younger days she was very active in the church and with the children’s school activities. “I loved to dance and I was on the bowling team too,” she added.
Raised in a Norwegian home, she says some of her favorite foods are mashed potatoes and gravy and “lefse of course!” She says her favorite hymn is The Old Rugged Cross and her favorite Bible verse is The Apostles’ Creed. She doesn’t have a particular ﬂower that is a favorite, but says she always liked red geraniums.
Marie says she likes it at Aase Haugen, “Everyone is so friendly here and even when some things about me are getting weaker and disappearing, my mouth still works and we can laugh together! I like laughter!”
– Marie Hanson, Resident at Aase Haugen
Dori has been serving at Aase Haugen for nearly 25 years. She started as an Environmental Aide, moved to a Certified Nurses Aide, then on to Rehab Aide and PPS RUGS Coordinator, before joining the Business Office as Accounts Receivable and Payroll Clerk. “I will have been at Aase for 25 years this coming December,” says Dori. “I’ve met so many residents over those years who have always had something unique to share. I really enjoy the residents.”
Dori grew up in a family of six with one sister and two brothers. “My dad was in the Navy for 20 years, so we lived everywhere from the Great Lakes to out West. My sister became my best friend because as ‘Navy kids’ we were never in one place long enough to make a best friend like other kids did,” Dori says. “I remember the time when my dad was going to get stationed in Guam, and our whole family was going to move there. It was scary because Guam wasn’t really a safe place for us,” she said. “At the last minute they switched his assignment to California, and we were so happy!” Dori says her experience moving with her family taught her how to communicate with lots of different types of people.
She says her most memorable move while she was a child was when they headed through Montana on their way back to Iowa where both her mother’s and her father’s families lived.
Today Dori and her husband Kevin have five children of their own and they are expecting their 12th grandchild in 2022. “I have lots of hobbies,” says Dori. “I like to sew, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and I taught myself how to knit!” She says she likes learning new things and she also spends time making and selling jewelry. She says her favorite flower is the Hollyhock and her favorite food is anything that crunches! “My mom used to make tacos with hard shells that crunch,” she added. “I remember that and I really love tacos.”
When asked if there was anything people don’t know about her, she explained that she has always been a person who can feel energy from other people. She believes in signs from the other side and has long been a believer in Eastern medicine for healing. “My kids think I’m pretty unusual,” says Dori. “But my faith is strong.”
She says she’s looking forward to moving to the new Aase Haugen building in the future. “I think it will enable the workers to give better care because it will be a more efficient design. I also think the people who live here will benefit from the family-oriented layout.”
Thanks for all you do, Dori, we are so happy you are part of our Aase Haugen family.
– Dori Frana , Accounts Receivable & Payroll Clerk at Aase Haugen
Arlan Forde is 100% Norwegian and grew up on a farm just north of Sattre, Iowa. “I was the youngest in my family,” says Arlan. “And I lived just four miles from where I was born until I went to the U.S. Army and I spent some time stationed in Germany.” He says they farmed the land and milked cows in addition to have a few chickens and pigs. “I remember taking eggs down to the Sattre store with my brother,” he said. “We’d trade them for food, like flour. My mom used to make the best bread from that flour.”
Arlan married Marjorie and they raised two children. They started out farming with horses and then got a tractor. “Seems like we got another tractor about every two years after we started that!” Their family continued to grow and he said with a smile, “I have a bunch of grandkids today!” A couple of his granddaughters live close by and on the day we interviewed, he was set to go out for a ride with his daughter. “I like fall,” he said. “The leaves are nice to look at.”
When asked what his favorite food is, he said, “Oh, I’ll eat just about anything!” But he did admit that he likes ice cream and was happy to hear that Aase was serving ice cream all day on Wednesday that week!
Arlan is about 88 years old and says he doesn’t have any secrets to a long life, but he added, “My mother lived to be almost 100, so I come from a long line.” He says he likes living at Aase. “The people are good to me here and the food is good too!”
We are happy you are a part of our Aase Haugen family, Arlan!
– Arlan Forde, Resident at Aase Haugen
Rose earned a business degree from NICC and began her career as an Office Manager working for Makee Manor in Waukon. After losing county and state funding, Makee Manor was forced to close, requiring Rose to look for another job and that’s when she joined Aase Haugen. For more than 8 years we have benefited from her leadership and organization.
“There’s a bunch of good co-workers here and we’re all on the same team and mindful of helping each other out,” she says. “Last year threw us out of our routine but we survived as a working family, even when the chaos of government regulation and loss had us struggling.” Rose encourages youth to get an education in healthcare. “There’s a high need for health care workers in every state and every city,” she says.
“Youth today who get a degree in healthcare, whether it be business or clinical, can earn a good income and be able to serve the community in a wonderful profession.”
She grew up north of Decorah on a farm that is now Luna Valley Farms. “We often wonder what dad would think of the family farm turned into a pizza ranch,” she says with a smile. Rose is married to Kenny and they have and a daughter in-law, Stephanie, and two grandchildren, Taylor (8) and Chase(13).
“We enjoy spending our free time taking in all the activities our grandchildren are doing,” says Rose. In addition to family activities, she does the accounting for Viking Pest Control (her husband’s business), they enjoy being outdoors, gardening and participating in Allamakee Antique Club classic car cruises.
Rose believes the new building for Aase Haugen will make life more enjoyable for the residents and will make work more efficient for staff. “Our board of directors is wonderful,” she says. “I’m impressed in how they lead us toward our goal to have a new building and how they consistently demonstrate appreciation and support our hard-working staff.”
Thank you for your dedication, Rose, we’re proud you’re part of the Aase family!
– Rose Beardmore , Business Office Manager at Aase Haugen
Judy grew up in the quaint little town of Mabel, Minnesota, with her grandmother, older sister and other close relatives. She’s lived in several different parts of the United States and traveled abroad during her lifetime, “I did a lot of traveling and that’s what I loved the most,” she says. “I’ve been lucky to go to Alaska three times and even won a trip to London!” Judy said she drove to Alaska, but, “I didn’t drive in the mountains,” she commented with a laugh. “They are just so huge!”
She says she stayed in Minnesota until her four sons were grown and gone. “Three of my children have passed away, but my oldest son had five children and my youngest had two, so I have seven wonderful grandchildren and I’m so proud of them all. They make my life interesting,” she said with a sparkle in her eye.
In addition to traveling for pleasure, Judy’s career as an in-home health care provider has moved her to places such as Rochester, MN, Tennessee, Arizona, Duluth and Door County, Wisconsin.
Judy joined the Aase Haugen famiy in June of this year. “I like it here,” she says. “Everyone is helpful and kind and it is so good to get healthy meals and assistance with my medication.” Speaking of food, she says her favorite foods are potatoes and shrimp and she loves roses – specially yellow ones. “My grandmother had a green thumb and she had the best gardens, but I was always too busy to try to grow them!”
Judy says she’s looking forward to seeing the new nursing home. “I don’t know how long it will take but it will be nice.” When asked to share ‘words of wisdom’ she said, “Just enjoy every day and that’s what I have always done. We don’t know how long we’ll be here so we need to just enjoy every day.”
Thank you for your positive attitude and friendship, Judy! We’re so happy you are part of our Aase Haugen family!
– Judy Schneekloth, Resident at Aase Haugen
Leah Bremer, RN, started her career at Aase Haugen working as a CNA back in the 90’s. She went on to earn her degree as a registered nurse from Northeast Iowa Community College and continued caring for people at Aase Haugen. “There’s just something that keeps me coming back to Aase Haugen,” says Leah. “My great grandparents and my grandmother lived here and I remember visiting them for coffee time as a child…so I have this strong connection and it just keeps pulling me back, like this is where I’m supposed to be.”
“Plus, my co-workers here are fun and the residents make my day with their stories and conversations,” she added.
Leah, and her identical twin sister, grew up in Decorah. Today she enjoys spending her free time with her two children, her stepson and five grandchildren.
Leah suggests anyone interested in nursing should take advantage of the local opportunities at NICC and Aase Haugen. “Aase offers scholarships that can really help save money on schooling,” she says. “We are so fortunate to have NICC so close, the instructors are wonderful and they provide the best education for nursing.”
Leah and her co-workers are looking forward to the new facility that will be built near Vennehjem. “It will be nice to give our residents a new place to call home and our employees a new environment that is more efficient and modern.” Thank you for your dedication, Leah, we’re proud you’re part of the Aase family!
– Leah Bremer , RN at Aase Haugen
Merlin Sharp grew up in the Decorah area and was the middle child of five siblings. Early in his career he taught German and English at North Winneshiek School before joining the management team at DECO products in Decorah. Recently, Merlin experienced a fall and came to Aase Haugen for skilled care to build his strength to go home again. “This is the third time I’ve come to Aase over the years for skilled care,” says Merlin. “I get excellent care here and I would recommend Aase to anyone.”
Merlin’s family has a history with Aase Haugen as well. Three generations of his family have lived here and he says, “It’s almost like my family to me being here.”
Claiming to be half Norwegian, Merlin says his favorite food is lasagna and his favorite hymn is “Lead kindly Light.” Merlin’s hobbies include gardening, reading and watching the History Channel. He says he’s always liked to be active, including biking and walking/hiking as hobbies as well.
“Building a new Aase Haugen is an excellent idea,” he says. “It would be a welcomed thing for residents and a place where staff would be happy to continue to provide excellent care.”
We’re glad we can serve your health care needs, Merlin, and we’re happy you’re part of our Aase Haugen family.
– Merlin Sharp, Resident at Aase Haugen
Alycia Burkick, LPN, knows the meaning of being busy. Not only does she give her all to caring for residents at Aase as a nurse and certified wound care provider, she keeps busy at home as a mother. She and her husband have 10 children and two grandchildren. Alycia says she enjoys working in Aase Haugen’s fun atmosphere, adding, “When you come to work positive, everyone is positive and when you enjoy work, it doesn’t feel so much like work.” Alycia also says she feels fortunate to build long-lasting relationships with not only the residents, but their families as well. “I’m looking forward to the excitment of a new building,” says Alycia. “I think it will be more efficient for the workers and homier for our residents.” Alycia has been serving as a nursing leader for 8 years. Her advice to young people considering a career at Aase Haugen is, “Give it a try because it’s worth it. You will make a difference in people’s lives and that is very satisfying.” Thank you for sharing your talent with us at Aase Haugen, Alycia. We’re proud you’re part of the Aase family!
– Alycia Burdick , LPN, WCC at Aase Haugen
Doyle Heyveld grew up on a farm near Leighton, Iowa with one brother and his family. Doyle and his wife, Cheryl, met while in the sixth grade and ended up marrying in college. They have been married 45 years and have two sons and five grandsons ages 3 ½ to 6 ½.
He is a retired Engineering manager from Caterpiller. He has always enjoyed photographing flowers, woodworking and traveling. He was also the Scout Master for their sons’ Boy Scout Troop. He has also enjoyed bicycling, hiking, skiing, and motorcycle riding, art and did some painting, as well as made his photography look like artworks.
Cheryl says they were blessed to be able to travel to several countries as well as much of the US including backpacking in Colorado and rafting through the Grand Canyon.
Doyle’s favorite hymn is Amazing Grace and his favorite foods are Mexican – the hotter the better! Cheryl says, “I have been happy with Doyle’s care at Aase Haugen – everyone is helpful and treats him with respect.” We are blessed to have Doyle and his family as part of our Aase Haugen family.
Doyle is pictured with his wife, Cheryl, on their anniversary in 2019.
– Doyle Heyveld, Resident at Aase Haugen , Spouse of Aase Haugen Resident
James Dougherty grew up in Waukon, IA, and he and his wife, Lavonne, raised their five children there as well. James invested 34 years working for ‘Ma Bell’ while the phone company was bought out by other companies over the years, Jim stayed a faithful employee. Following his retirement from the phone company, he and his wife owned Spook Cave Campground near McGregor, IA. “We ran the campground for 14 years with our daughter,” says Jim. “I was the carpenter and plumber and most everything else. It was a good thing.”
James’ grandparents were from Ireland and he and Lavonne had the opportunity to travel to the ‘home country’ along with his brother and a couple of cousins. He said they stayed in castles, enjoyed the Irish food and entertainment and, “the provisions were excellent,” says Jim. When asked if he had inherited any of the so-called ‘Irish temper,’ he replied, “I came close!”
When asked if he liked Irish beer, he shared that on their way home from the trip to Ireland, they stopped between Freeport, IL, and Waukon for a beer. “My friend asked me how much the beer cost and I said I gave them a five-dollar bill and it wasn’t enough,” James said. “Thing was, I wasn’t even crazy about the beer!”
Today, James says he is comfortable at Aase Haugen and that with his therapy, he has been walking more. “The food gets better all the time,” says Jim. “And there’s enough activities to keep me occupied.”
Sláinte! Or cheers to you, our Irish James! We’re looking forward to celebrating your 97th birthday with you this November!
– James Dougherty, Resident at Aase Haugen
Lee Volden grew up on a farm near Viroqua, Wisconsin, where at a very early age his adventuresome heart fell in love with flying. During his service in the US Army Air Corps in WWII, Lee became a radio operator on B-24 Liberator airplanes. After leaving the service, he earned his own pilot license and enjoyed flying the wild blue yonder for many years.
Lee married another love of his life, Donna, in 1952. Together they worked on the family farm planting crops, milking Jersey cows and raising five children! For many years, Lee and Donna belonged to a square dance club in La Crosse as well as a neighborhood card club. Lee was a very successful farmer. His can-do attitude and inquisitive personality led him to study new farming trends, and he was rotating crops and terracing his land long before it became a common practice. Lee and Donna kept busy on the farm raising their children, and church was an important part of their daily life. Farm work took up most of their days, but later in life when they could travel to visit their children and grandchildren, they embraced the opportunity. They enjoyed family vacations to Hawaii and Alaska and many trips across the states to visit their loved ones. Lee’s curiosity and adventuresome nature made vacations with his family all the more enjoyable. He was still riding jet skis with his grandchildren in his 80s, and even tackled the Tornado waterslide at Wisconsin Dells!
Lee is happy at Aase Haugen, and we are so happy you are part of our extended Aase Haugen family too!
– Leland (Lee) Volden, Resident at Aase Haugen