Perry Lutheran Homes Honors, Recognizes and Furthers StepUp Efforts Supporting Elders

The StepUp movement continues its year two rally with the May 30 gathering of one hundred and forty people from Perry and surrounding communities. The second, annual Celebration Dinner held at La Poste focused on celebrating Intergenerational Connections and Elders. Sponsored by Perry Lutheran Homes, through their Board of Directors, the dinner continued to highlight the blessings and needs of our elder population.

Local celebrity and WHO radio personality, Mr. Van Harden, was the evening’s guest speaker. Harden shared stories about and spoke to the importance of intergenerational connections and supporting our elder generation. He also helped honor the evening’s Exemplar award winner, the late Mr. Tom Quinlan. Quinlan gave Harden his first job in radio at Perry’s KDSL station, and demonstrated to others a “life well lived” through community impact serving as a positive model for others to follow. Over twenty of Quinlan’s family members were there to share in the special evening.

A second award-winner was also recognized for demonstrating, without hesitation, a commitment to serving and improving the lives of elder citizens. The StepUp service award was presented to Mrs. Wanitta Ramsey who has served as Activity Director for two Perry, IA senior care communities, serving elders for over 35 years. Community members are invited each year to submit nominations for this award.

“The community members of Perry and surrounding towns, local service groups and businesses, as well as congregations all over Iowa, are catching on and excited about the StepUp movement. For those in Perry, it stands for Serving Together our Elderly in Perry. For those beyond, Serving Together our Elderly with Passion,” expresses Melissa Gannon, COO and Administrator of Perry Lutheran Homes. “When you look at the needs of elders across the state and even the world, they are no different. Many elders in our own community are lonely and depressed, without adequate nutrition, lacking funds for medical care, and living in homes that are unsafe. The two key parts behind this movement are first, stepping out of our day-to-day routines to take notice of these elder citizens in need and second, stepping up to help address those needs.”

Dinner guests, along with others who were not able to attend, “stepped up” and pledged over $32,000 toward the goal of raising $40,000 to help provide for those elders at Perry Lutheran Homes without resources to cover the cost of their care. Perry Lutheran Homes’ mission and commitment to caring for elders based on their need, not their ability to pay, creates an opportunity for the community to demonstrate their honor and care for elder citizens during their time of need through their partnership. You can help care for elders today by making a secure gift online.

Other highlights from the evening included a powerful video demonstrating the impact of Perry Lutheran Homes’ Intergenerational Program on residents and children attending Acorns & Oaks on-site Christian daycare. Perry Lutheran Homes’ intergenerational care approach is catching on as other Iowa senior care communities realize the immense benefits and are seeking to implement something similar. The intergenerational care model reaches as far as Jacmel, Haiti from Perry Lutheran Homes’ work in early 2019 to help open an eldercare home next to an orphanage and training staff on the benefits of such a care model. The intergenerational theme was celebrated throughout the evening as photos of dinner guests with their grandchildren or grandparents were shown throughout the night. Even the centerpieces were made by the children and elders living at Perry Lutheran Homes’ Willis campus.

“We are simply bringing together what everyone intuitively knows. The young, the old, and in-between are all designed by God to be better together,” states Rev. Max Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Perry Lutheran Homes. “The benefits of regular, intergenerational connection are numerous for both residents and children. Better mental and physical health for both, increased confidence and self-esteem in the children, feelings of purpose and value for the elders, greater acceptance and appreciation of people from other generations and of differing abilities, and the list goes on. Intergenerational isn’t a one-time thing at Perry Lutheran Homes. It’s who we are and how we live.”

Perry Lutheran Homes next event in the year-round StepUp campaign is the second, annual Run Through Time 5K fun run/walk set for Saturday, July 6 at 7PM in Perry, IA in collaboration with Perry’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. Register by June 15 to take advantage of early bird pricing at

To see photos and videos or our intergenerational home and to join in our weekly StepUp challenge, follow Perry Lutheran Homes on Facebook

Perry Lutheran Homes, is your locally owned and managed, Christian Caring Community, serving Perry and surrounding communities for over 60 years. Perry Lutheran Homes offers innovative, intergenerational, Christ-centered care at two campuses in Perry, IA – Willis Campus and Spring Valley Retirement Campus. Services include independent living, assisted living, three levels of progressive memory care, in-home care, respite care, skilled care, rehabilitative therapy, intermediate and long-term care, and end-of-life care.

Guest Speaker, Van Harden, presents the Exemplar Award to the late Tom Quinlan's family.
Perry Lutheran Homes' Board President, Curtis Carlson, welcomes dinner guests.
Melissa Gannon, Perry Lutheran Homes COO and Administrator presents the StepUp Service Award to Wanitta Ramsey of Perry.
One hundred and forty community members gather for the annual dinner celebrating Intergenerational Connections & Elders.
Rev. Max Phillips, CEO of Perry Lutheran Homes, shares how Perry Lutheran Homes residents, staff and volunteers are impacting elders near and far.
Guest speaker, Mr. Van Harden of WHO radio, shares stories of intergenerational importance and honors the late Tom Quinlan.
Dennis Quinlan speaks on behalf of the family about his father, Tom Quinlan.
Tree planting in Tom’s honor – his favorite tree, the Velvet Pillar Crabapple – Bob Smithson (St. Patrick’s church), Jason Levan (Perry Greenhouse & Supply), Dennis Quinlan, Dar Hoskinson, Kathy Hoskinson, Kelly Moore (Perry Lutheran Homes), Curt Carlson (Board President of Perry Lutheran Homes)
Dinner guests applaud after the award presentation, speech and video honoring the late Tom Quinlan.
Perry Lutheran Homes Board of Directors are recognized for their sponsorship of the dinner and any associated costs.