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Friends & Neighbors - Sunnyside names new administrator

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Though Katie Lundmark has only been the administrator of Sunnyside Care Center since mid-July, her face is not an unfamiliar one to many of the residents there.

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"When I was in school, pursuing my nursing home administrative license, I worked here (at Sunnyside) and at the Pelican Valley Health Center in Pelican Rapids, under an administrator who served both facilities," Lundmark explained. "So I already had some familiarity with Sunnyside, the staff and the community."

She is quite happy to see the facility improvements that have occurred since her original tenure there.

"When I was here originally, they were just beginning to do the remodeling and addition," she said. "It's really nice that they were able to complete this remodel for the residents ... seniors deserve to have a home-like atmosphere."

Being part of a nursing home staff is actually like being part of a family, Lundmark added.

"It's a really close-knit community (at a nursing home) -- you really do become a family," she said.

Prior to coming to Sunnyside, Lundmark had spent several years as the housing manager at The Madison, a senior living complex that is part of Emmanuel Community in Detroit Lakes.

But while she enjoyed her tenure there, Lundmark was also ambitious enough to want to make full use of her long-term care administrator's license. As part of Ecumen, the senior housing and services provider that oversees both Emmanuel and Sunnyside, she was among the first to learn of the opening at the 57-bed nursing home in rural Lake Park.

'I've always had a strong belief in helping people," Lundmark said, "and nursing home care is a big part of helping people, to live more fully."

A native of Detroit Lakes, Lundmark continues to make her home here with husband Eric and two young children, Clara, 2, and Keifer, 8 months.

And while Lundmark admitted there are those among her friends and family who think she's a little crazy for taking on so much responsibility with such a young family at home, she said, 'I'm having a great time."

"I'm still getting my feet wet a little bit -- learning my surroundings," she added. "I'm not going to just jump in and make a lot of changes in my first few weeks."

Nevertheless, she's been kept pretty busy overseeing the shoreline restoration project on Boyer Lake, which borders on the nursing home, and of course, the process of drawing up Sunnyside's 2008 budget is "right around the corner."

Fortunately, Lundmark added, "I've had a nice reception, from the staff and residents, and from the board members as well. I'm feeling really comfortable here."

Lundmark holds a bachelor's degree in business and health care administration, with a sequence in long-term care administration. Back in Detroit Lakes, she is a board member of the United Way of Becker County, and a member of the Detroit Lakes Kiwanis chapter.

Sunnyside, which has served the Lake Park community for over 50 years, is a 58-bed health care and rehabilitation center owned and maintained by Becker County. Ecumen, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). It is Minnesota's largest non-profit senior housing and services provider.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 14 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 844-1454
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