Van Recognition 101

By Father Dennis Meinen
View from the Scooter

I went to the Holy Spirit Retirement Home kickoff fund-raising event from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 12 at the Sioux City Country Club, which told that Holy Spirit will shortly inaugurate an endowment fund to benefit Holy Spirit Retirement Home.

We viewed a wonderful presentation of Holy Spirit people and activities. We met several board members who are instrumental in helping us to grow as an institution and strive to assist people in walking the ways of faith. Most of all, we were told we were a welcoming home where people can settle in, be part of a big close family and be confident that our vision is rock solid because we have been built on the firm foundation of generous people and vision makers.

“The proceeds from the evening were to go towards larger capital projects such as building a new house for the five sisters who work for us and are from the country of India, new resident transportation van, more parking, new furniture and beds on second floor, new steamtable for the kitchen, new windows in assisted living and new outdoor signs,” said Ranee Ehrich, director of marketing and development at Holy Spirit.

She pointed out the fundraiser will also help them spread the word about Holy Spirit’s mission, as they support the larger projects and improvements needed for the facility that was originally built in 1968.

Prior to this event, Amy Bloch, executive director at Catholic Charities of Sioux City, noted, “It is important for our community to be aware of what Holy Spirit offers our community as the only faith-based nursing home in the area. While we have wonderful staff who provide the highest-quality care, the facility needs repair and enhancement to provide the best experience for the residents and their families who come to visit.”

We viewed a wonderful presentation by Larry Walsh, who with his wife Sharon served as the 2017 honorary chair couple. Larry challenged us to be steadfast in our goal-making endeavors. Organizers anticipate this Spirit of Home fundraiser will become an annual event.

What is an endowment? An endowment is a fund that holds its principal in perpetuity and only pays out a small portion that goes to campus operations and programs. Endowment investments have dual goals: to grow the principal and to generate income. Watch the fund grow in the next few years!

I had a funny thing happen (imagine that?) after this wonderful event. On the way back to my accessible van, I discovered that the Knights of Columbus valet service brought my van right up close, so I could easily climb aboard.

However, a certain person and his wife are rumored to have a similar make of van with the same color, same size, same handicap license plate, the whole ball of wax! When my driver attempted to unlock the door, someone had mischievously changed the lock, so no one could get in. We were dead in the water.

We called on our venerable Knights of Columbus valet service to help us. They couldn’t get into the van either. I was lingering nearby, nervously tapping my fingers on my power chair joystick. I know that the model of the Knights is “In service to One, in service to all,” but the Knights were dead in the water, too!

The country club must have a guardian angel because my driver could now see with clear eyes – my van did not possess a bumper sticker on the rear window, nor did it have road dirt on the wheels because I had recently washed my van. We both have higher academic degrees, but we must have failed in Van Recognition 101.

Suddenly realizing we had made a mistake, we quietly called for my van. The organizers of the endowment fund said they wanted to meet the facility needs, repairs and enhancements, but I suggest they start with Van Recognition 101 for the chaplain.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix for Siouxland, and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.


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