By J.O. Parker
Anything is possible with hard work mixed with determination and hope.
Just ask Amanda Van Maanen, activity director, and staff at Montezuma Specialty Care.
On June 11, a new van for residents use was delivered to the local care center. And it was made possible in part due to fundraising, donations and grants.
“When I first started working at Montezuma Specialty Care in 2002, there were a couple things I wanted to accomplish,” said Van Maanen. “I thought to myself, ‘If my loved one was here, what would I want them to be able to do, see and enjoy?’”
The first thing on that list was a new outdoor patio for the residents to enjoy.
“I didn’t want residents to just be confined to the inside of the building,” noted Van Maanen. “I wanted them to have quality of life.”
The second and bigger goal was a new van.
“I got the patio accomplished, so I moved on to my second goal of a van,” Van Maanen said. “I contacted home office and got approval to do fundraising.”
Van Maanen and staff started fundraising in 2018 with a car show. Then churches started donating as did family members and local businesses.
“A group of staff worked one night at Pizza Ranch for tips,” Van Maanen said. “We sold butter braids (pastries). That one was a big success.”
“I brought my husband’s race car trailer to do an onsite pop can drive,” noted Van Maanen. “We filled it with cans to be recycled for money. And Brownell’s did a big donation, too.”
Staff sold T-shirts and held bake sales, anything to make the dream of a new van possible. After two years of hard work, staff raised $20,000.
The facility also applied for and was awarded a $7,500 grant through the Poweshiek County Alliance.
Van Maanen and staff kept a fundraiser thermometer on the wall to show families and residents where they were at with reaching the goal of a new van.
“We’re a small town community, so there was a lot of excitement around this,” said Van Maanen. “This all started because I wanted residents to be able to go out and enjoy outings and time with their family.”
Before delivery, the new van was modified with a wheelchair lift and accessible seating for up to 10 residents at a time. Since its delivery in June, residents now have the opportunity to engage with the surrounding community.
“The van is used to transport residents to personal shopping trips, physician appointments and community events,” said Tesha Rainey, Director of Communications for Care Initiatives, owner of Montezuma Specialty Care. “This year, residents were able to use the van to attend the Montezuma Booster Bash (monthly summer events).”
“This all started because I wanted residents to be able to go out and enjoy outings and time with their family,” Van Maanen said.
“As an operator you hope that all of your employees are as servant hearted and dedicated to the residents as Amanda is,” said Andrew Wagg, MBA, LNHA, ALMC and Regional Director of Operations, “She manages multiple responsibilities with ease while consistently putting the residents first. I am proud she is on my team.”