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