Posted by Jeff Benson on May 14, 2019

Our guests at today’s meeting were Nancy Benson (Jeff’s wife) and Nils Friberg’s guest, Ashraf Ibrahim.  Ashraf is staying with Nils and Peg as he gathers toys, clothing and other essentials for disadvantaged children and refugees in Egypt.


President Cindy Carlson honored (and surprised) Jeff Benson by presenting him with a certificate of appreciation for 40 years of service to the New Brighton/Mounds View Rotary Club.  Jeff thought it was pure coincidence that Nancy happened to be at this particular meeting until Nancy admitted (on the ride home) that Cindy had asked her to attend the meeting.  As Nancy will happily tell you, Jeff can be a little clueless at times.  Cindy and Jeff are shown below.


The Stamp Out Hunger food drive was a big success again this year.  This partnership of the US Postal Service, the United Way and other local charitable organizations collected food for the Second Harvest Heartland Foodshelf.  Led by Jason Slama, our team set a new record for food collections at our location.  Kudos to all who helped out!


A contingent of NBMV Rotarians braved the weather to cheer for our exchange student, Maria Klakegg, at a recent Irondale softball game.  Maria’s energy and enthusiasm were on full display and could not be dampened by the weather or their team’s eventual defeat. If you haven’t had an opportunity to invite Maria to join you for an activity, you owe it to yourself to spend a little time with her.  Make your plans quickly though, because she’ll be returning to Norway soon.  We are all invited to Maria’s graduation/farewell party on June 8th.  Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more details.


Ed James read some hand-made thank you cards from recipients of trees in our Fourth Grade Foresters tree give-away.  As always, the cards are beyond cute and they prove that the kids are getting the intended environmental message.


Dana Rebelein described the results of our $250 contribution to Operation Christmas Child and circulated photos of grateful children.


Remember the Benedictine Gala is this Friday, May 17th, starting at 5:30PM.


Ed James reminded us that our Feed My Starving Children food packing event will be on Tuesday, May 28th from 8:00 to 9:30PM.  We still need more volunteers to fill out our packing station.


Mike Neeley introduced Reid Hewitt, Business Administrator for Benedictine Care Center at Innsbruck (BCCI).  Reid was here to talk about a major expansion planned for BCCI. BCCI is part of Benedictine Health Systems, which got its start in the 1880’s, when a group of Benedictine Nuns formed a hospital in Duluth, Minnesota.  As health care became increasingly administrative, the sisters formed Benedictine Health Systems in 1985 to help oversee administrative tasks, thereby allowing the nurses to concentrate on what they knew best; patient care.  Following the Benedictine Core Values of Hospitality, Stewardship, Respect and Justice, BHS has expanded to provide services for elderly and medically challenged individuals in five Midwestern states.  Although BHS has been primarily focused on nursing home services, the changing eldercare landscape, increasing costs of delivering care and a dwindling work force have compelled eldercare businesses to offer a continuum of residential options including independent living, assisted living, transitional care and memory care.  This model will allow eldercare facilities to remain profitable and relevant in the future.


Innsbruck has been delivering health care services since the mid 1960’s but, due to space limitations, it has been unable to transition to this new continuum of care model.  However, recent acquisitions of adjacent properties have finally made it possible to offer an expanded range of services.  The plan, which has received provisional approval from the New Brighton City Council, would increase BCCI’s capacity from 105 to 214 units, with 56 independent living units, 40 assisted living units, 24 memory care units and 94 skilled care units.  Reid outlined the myriad of steps involved in a project of this size and it seems daunting, but things are progressing well and Reid hopes to break ground in 2020 and be operational in 18-24 months.  The new Innsbruck will feature desirable amenities like roof-top patios, indoor/outdoor fireplaces, underground parking, memory care courtyard and many others.  A Capital Campaign is planned to fund some amenities that might not otherwise be possible. 

Contact Reid Hewitt: 651-633-1686 or   Reid and Mike are shown below.