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May 22, 2020


As I reported last week, we are still blessed with the news of no positive tested residents anywhere on our campus.  We continue to test as signs and symptoms warrant the testing.  This week we tested two residents and three staff members-all came back negative.  So when is the state going to get around to test?  That is a very good question.  I sat in on another webinar this morning in which they identified the next group of testing, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Berrien counties were included with this group.  The interesting thing is this group of counties are not connected but are all over the state.  It appears the state is looking at data where the most cases of COVID-19 are at and are testing in those counties first.  So, what we do know is our county will not be tested for at least another couple of weeks.

The CDC and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has now set guidelines for the “opening” of Nursing Homes.  It is going to be a long complicated process, with the requirement of weekly testing, (and some of us have not been given the base-line test yet) as well as strict requirements for visitors and limits to how long visits may last, where visitors are allowed to go, and just about everything else they can think of.  In order to open up completely a facility has to have four weeks of no positive COVID-19 cases of residents or staff.  As I said in the last paragraph, we are not even scheduled for the first week of testing.  However, what is being debated right now is, who is going to pay for all this required testing?  If the federal or state government are requiring it, are they responsible for the expense?  It always comes now to the money.  So, time will tell when we will be able to give you a ‘grand opening” date.  When we know, you will know.    You may be able to hear the shouts of joy!

Again, we have had another week of community support:

Special thanks to the Burr Oak 4-H Club for making crafts to brighten the resident’s days and to Aileen Morrison for donating 80 cloth masks.  Both gifts were received and enjoyed by the residents.   AND Mary Beth Yoder donated awesome lap robes and blankets for the residents in honor of her mother, Alice Yoder.

And again, the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors provided snacks, and the Department Heads provided a brown bag lunch with grilled hot dogs for the staff this week.

As we go into this holiday weekend, may you enjoy time with family and friends—keeping the social distancing and the 10 person limit in place of course.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this ever changing path.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

May 15, 2020



While the headline state no resident COVID-19, as I stated last Saturday we do have one staff member who tested positive.  She continues to do well and remains off work without symptoms per our policy.   We did test another resident with respiratory symptoms this week, with negative results.    A resident from the independent housing was hospitalized and also tested negative.  That particular resident was tested at two hospitals using two different methods with the same result.  This is encouraging since if you heard the headlines today there is some concern about the accuracy of the quick test.  All testing that has been done has not been the quick test due to the lack of availability of those types of tests in our area.  We had  three additional staff members get tested, with all coming back negative.

As I stated on Monday, there continues to be discussion regarding the testing of all nursing home facilities and staff.  I attended a webinar today where the State of Michigan has now outlined what counties will be tested during the next couple of weeks.  St. Joseph, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Calhoun, and Kalamazoo counties are NOT on that list.  As you can imagine, the first testing will be done where the virus has been identified.   I will attempt to let you know when we will be scheduled because it is now the state’s stated policy that all nursing facilities will be tested.  We just don’t know when.   BUT, rest assured, we will continue to test as it is appropriate.

We did get notified that FEMA is planning on shipping Personal Protective Equipment to all nursing homes in the State of Michigan the week of May 18th.  We are not sure what day our equipment will arrive but we are scheduled to receive eye protection, masks, gloves and gowns.  At one time we were told we would receive two shipments, two weeks apart.  Now we are not sure if that is still the plan.  Time will tell, but whatever it is it will be greatly appreciated and will ease a lot of anxiety regarding our PPE.

As Spring turns into Summer, along with warmer temperatures, we are planning a “Resident Parade” for families and friends!   Understanding we must maintain social distancing, we are thinking it would be great to have the residents outside at various areas along the sidewalks and grassy areas and have families and friends do a drive by parade.   Details to follow!

We continue to be blessed by the community support.  Special thanks to LITTLE CEASAR’S  of Sturgis, who in recognition of NURSE’S WEEK AND NATIONAL NURSING HOME WEEK, provided pizzas for our staff on ALL THREE SHIFTS!    WALMART – just donated several hundred masks for our staff.
We also had Riverside Church provide roses, and Lindsay Johnson provided daisies for Mother’s Day for our Villa Residents.
Betty Taylor, a family member from one of our nursing center residents, provided cloth masks for our staff.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we continue to move through this unprecedented path with the faith that God is in control.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer



May 11, 2020


The Health Department has recommended we continue to follow the CDC guidelines and did not recommend we test all residents and staff at this time. That said, I was listening to Governor Whitmer this afternoon in which she stated there has been testing completed in the UP of both prisons and nursing homes and the next step is to engage in finishing the prison testing and begin testing in “ nursing homes and other care facilities”. Consequently if the state requires testing then we will do what is required. The White House has also made the same recommendation and has committed to increasing test availability. However, if the Health Department recommends the testing of all residents and staff we will do it prior to the state or federal mandate. Bottom line: we must follow the recommendations.

This positive test has given us the opportunity to review what we were doing and we have made a couple of updates to our practices. They are: all nursing staff in the nursing center went from wearing the cloth face masks to surgical masks and the Villa residents, who have been eating using the 6 ft distancing will now eat in their rooms and temperature and symptom monitoring will be twice a day instead of once a day for the Villa; it has been twice a day for the nursing center. And encouraged our staff to take the necessary precautions to wear masks in public and adhere to the same criteria at home as at Thurston Woods Village.

Please know we have been doing the following since March 12, the day we started the lockdown (ahead of the requirement): 1) All entries into the building was closed and visitors were limited to end of life visits. 2) ALL staff must enter in the building via one entrance and must take their temperature, and answer a series of health questions prior to entering the resident areas and must use hand sanitizer after taking their temperature and clean thermometer and pen with disinfecting wipes: 3) All staff are to practice social distancing at all times in break areas and whenever possible when providing care; 4) Staff are being in-serviced on a continual basis regarding the CDC requirements and encouraged to practice the same social distancing and hand washing practices at home; 4) Residents are monitored twice daily with temperatures taken and symptom monitoring and documented accordingly; 5) Group activities have been cancelled and residents are provided with limited 6 ft distancing activities or one on one activities; 6) Residents have been utilizing the 6 ft distancing rule when eating in the nursing center; 6) the increased requirement of cleaning/sanitizing equipment; 7) any resident being admitted must be quarantined for 14 days prior to being allowed into the general population and finally but certainly not the least important is the constant recommendation of hand washing and the use of sanitizers for all staff and residents.

Again, if you missed the post of two weeks ago, please know the State of Michigan Survey team was at Froh Community Home on April 29th for an Infection Control Surveillance Survey. The result of that three person team was they found NO citations of infection control. Since Infection Control is a major issue in making sure the resident’s are safe, this survey results is just another indication of our commitment to do what is necessary to protect the residents.

As I stated on Saturday evening, there were co-workers who were tested. ALL those results have came back negative. And again, as hard as it is right now, the requirement is that in order to be tested, there has to be signs and symptoms or a presumed contact exposure. I expect that requirement may be relaxed some as more test kits become available.

I understand your concern and appreciate the out-pouring of support and the constructive criticisms as we strive to ensure our residents and staff are protected.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 9, 2020


As I have always said when there is COVID-19 information I would do my best to keep you informed.

On Thursday, May 7th we were notified of a staff members husband testing positive as part of his employer’s plan to test all employees. We informed her that she needed to get tested and could not work until the results came back. We recommended that her entire family be tested as well. We have been notified that her husband’s factory has closed after the testing results were released.

Late this afternoon we were notified that she has tested positive as well. She currently has no symptoms but will have to remain off work until 14 days on showing no symptoms.

While HIPPA laws prevent us from giving any personal information please know she has been diligent in making sure she has worn her mask while at work and washing her hands.

While this news is not what anyone wants to hear and will cause some anxiety please know we are continuing to monitor staff on a daily basis and will keep you informed.

We ask for your prayers as we walk this path.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

May 8, 2020


Although there isn’t much more to report since my post earlier this week, I wanted to let you know that after eight weeks – yes eight weeks – of being on “lockdown” we are still getting information almost on a daily basis from state and federal governments, the CDC and CMS, sometimes frustratingly contradicting each other.  Now we get to add  FEMA to the list.  We were notified by them that we will be the recipient of gloves, masks, gowns, and shields – sometime in the future!   We just don’t know when.   If we get what they have said we would, be will be set for Personal Protective Equipment for quite awhile.    The major point is:  IF.  Time will tell.  There is some discussion about mandating testing for all facilities and staff for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not.  I will attempt to notify you of that mandate if it happens.

This week has been a week of honoring our Nurses.  A video was done by Wellspring Lutheran Services from the Frankenmuth area.  They are a non-profit continuing care retirement community but also deal with children services as another branch of their operation.  I posted the video earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to look at it, please do.  It honors those in long-term care for the work they do.    This is also the week that many of you will honor your mother, sister, aunt, grandma, or friend.  We thank you for allowing us to care for these women.  It is a privilege and a blessing (for the most part) to hear their stories,  and to see their love for you in their eyes when they talk about you.

In honor of our Nurses and with next week being National Nursing Home Week—LITTLE CEASAR’S STURGIS– will be providing lunch for our staff on Monday.  So if you go to Little Caesar’s, thank them.  This is a awesome gesture and the staff have been delighted with the announcement.    Also, TACO BELL worked with the Department Head team by providing tacos and burritos at 1/2 price for our staff meal today!

Special thank you go out to:
Kendra Lipscomb—who dropped off mask extenders-TWICE this week
Susan Carter and Jim Rojeski for masks and providing pizza to our Villa staff
Leslie from BOFA for providing us with a care package of gloves, bleach, paper towels and Kleenex

And to the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for their weekly snacks

Happy Mother’s Day for those of you who are celebrating this weekend.  Stay safe and continue to pray for God’s hedge around our buildings as we fight COVID-19.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 4, 2020


Last night around 9 pm our Governor issued Executive Order 2020-72.  What the order states that “Temporary restrictions on entry into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities” must remain closed to all visitors; must perform a health care evaluation for all individuals, and staff must wear face masks along with social distancing through May 31st, at 11:59pm.  What does that mean:  it means we are still required to do what we have been doing since March 12th for the lockdown and performing health screenings for all people (staff) entering our facilities and continue to wear the face masks were have worn for the last month or so.     If you remember when they first began talking about “opening up Michigan” I stated we would be the last to open.   So this Executive Order didn’t surprise me.

Please remember you can still contact you loved one by:  calling them either on their cell phone or by calling 651-7841 and asking to speak to them; by contacting the activities department or Villa desk to schedule a face-time visit; letters are great and delivered daily; and of course going to the windows to see them.  Just remember even with the better weather, the resident cannot open the window at this time.

We will continue to try to keep you updated as situations change constantly.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 1, 2020


We continue to feel blessed to say that statement.  That said, we continue to screen for not only the Influenza but we tested three residents and one staff members this week—ALL came back negative!  We are taking every new regulation seriously. Between Joella Martin, DON and our Infection Control Specialist and I we are continually scouring all the resources we can find from the CDC, state and federal governments, and the most important resource of LeadingAge Mi, our not-for-profit State Healthcare Association.

We had the privilege of having three state surveyors in our building for what is called an “Infection Control Surveillance Survey”.  You may have seen articles on these surveys with the latest from the Grand Rapids Press last weekend.  They talked to staff, they looked at our policies and procedures, they looked at our equipment, our cleaning processes, whether we were wearing our masks properly—yes there is a proper way to wear a mask—ask them, and then left stating they had to do some work on their end.  That statement created another round of emails of requests for more documentation.  Bottom line:  THEY FOUND NOTHING OUT OF COMPLIANCE.  I cannot tell you how very proud I am of the Thurston Woods Village staff.   They know their stuff and they proved it by demonstrating to these surveyors what proper techniques are about.  They do it every day regardless of whether any one is looking or not.

Also we have the most giving and supportive community.  Special thanks to the following:

To our Board of Directors who week after week are providing snacks for our staff.

For masks:
Nancy Ross-missed you a couple of weeks ago
Susan Warner from Holland, Mi
Debora Carr-crocheted expanders

Julie Kennard-thanks again for the disinfecting wipes
Emerald Peterson for pictures for the residents
Faith and Jamie Wilson—flowers for the tables in the Villa
Claire Propst, Mackenzie Kelly and Everlee Kelly for May Day flowers.  Special Note:   Mackenzie is a daughter of Rochelle Kelly, a staff member in the Villa.

Haylett Consulting Group for their continued monetary support
Modern Woodmen for the $1000 gift for PPE

AND A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO HANNAH WOODS- a 10th grade student from Sturgis High School who named Thurston Woods Village as her recipient of her choice for winning an student contest on how the current health crisis has impacted them.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we travel these uncharted days.   Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 29, 2020


While we have enjoyed the fruits of our labors with our staff having access to the wonderfully different designs of both elastic behind the ear and the tie masks.    We have now made the decision to offer masks to our nursing center residents to wear when they are outside of their rooms.  The majority residents have decided that was a good idea.  We will be offering the same to the Villa today.  So, some of the residents prefer the elastic behind the ear but others with oxygen, glasses and hearing aids like the tie.  However, if you are thinking about the residents, some of our ladies are very petite and so the masks are too large.   Consequently, if we could get some smaller masks we would appreciate those as well.   Due to the generosity of so many, we do have enough to start the resident mask project, we don’t have enough to give each of the residents multiple masks.

And yes, we do have medical grade masks to wear should we need to but want to keep those for emergencies.

Thank you for all your efforts.  The staff and residents are enjoying the different designs and all your many talents!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


April 28, 2020

The following letter was mailed to the responsible parties of our residents.  We wanted to share it with other family members and friends as well.

Dear families:

I wanted to thank you again for your trust in Thurston Woods Village as we continue to be on this journey called COVID-19.  We continue to get daily (sometimes hourly) updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as well as the federal and state governments.    We strive to comply as quickly as possible, fully understanding the requirements are put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

As you are aware, Governor Whitmer and President Trump are working to safely open the state and country, with each having opinions on how and when that may happen.  What is obvious to everyone is the senior population is the most vulnerable and consequently it is being suggested to continue to restrict access to that population until the last—commonly called Phase Three.

With the expectation that hospital, assisted living and nursing facilities will be the last to open up for visitations, I wanted to reach out to you to remind you of the alternatives we have put in place for you to have access to your loved one.  They are:  1) we have always had the ability to allow for private conversations by calling the facility and request us to transfer the call to the private phone room in the nursing center and at the desk in the Villa; 2) we provide you the ability to “face time” with the resident by calling Sue or Peri in the nursing center and the desk at the Villa to schedule a time that is convenient for you; 3) come to the windows—you are always welcome to come see the resident  at the resident’s window.  HOWEVER please do not ask the resident to open the window; 4) write letters—the residents love hearing from you, if you don’t want to mail them, drop them off at the front entrance and we will get them to the resident;  and last but not least, call and check with the staff—they know what you are feeling because many of us have the same situation with our families.

Look for more information as we attempt to schedule a “parade” for you and your family member.  While we are still in the planning phases, it is our hope that as weather gets warmer we will be able to have residents outside (with the 6 ft distance ruled applied) and you are able to do a drive by parade for them.  We will keep you posted as to the date (with a rain date scheduled) by putting the information on our website and Face book page.

Again, thank you for your continued trust in us as we care for your family, friend and loved one in these trying times understanding as always God is in control.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 24, 2020


As facilities across the country remain in the news it is with gratitude to our awesome staff we can say today we are a COVID-19 free facility.  There has been systems put into place throughout the state as the most impacted by the virus need placement into long term care rehab facilities.  The State of Michigan has been working with facilities where COVID-19 is the most prevalent to develop Regional “Hubs” for those residents.  Every facility in the state has been mandated to make arrangements for a isolated “wing” or floor for COVID-19 positive residents.  We have complied with those mandates and are attempting to get the necessary supplies in place should the need arise.  It is fortunate to had made the decision years ago to stock more emergency supplies than required which has allowed us to be better equipped than some.

Some have been asking if we have done any testing.  The answer is yes.  We have tested one resident with respiratory symptoms and two staff members.  All have came back negative.  The resident was put in isolation and staff were not able to return to work until the test results came back.    Again, the State and Federal governments have stated multiple times their desire to have more people tested.  We have been told that at some point the requirement may be to test everyone.  If that is the requirement, please know we will comply.  Right now, we will continue to test as symptoms warrant.

Again we have been blessed with the outpouring of support:
Pastor Sue Babb from the United Methodist Church—Bible verse pictures for the residents

Crystal Updyke from Wyoming (family member)-cowboy masks
JoAnne Pantale and the Sew You Care group—masks
Candy Harris—three weeks in a row—masks
John Dresser and Mike and Debbie Doe—donuts for the staff
The Thurston Woods Board of Directors –weekly snacks for staff
The Department Head team—weekly meals for staff

So what do we need?  I get that question often.   We continue to need disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers and gloves.   KUDOS to all the mask makers.  While we have a limited supply of masks, as time goes by we may need more.  Especially as the Governor announced the requirement for everyone to wear a mask in box spaces.

Again, we ask for your continued prayers as we thrive to care for the residents we love.


Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer


April 17, 2020


What is now our five week of “shut-down” we feel blessed to be one of the facilities in the country without the COVID-19 virus in the building.  I know you are hearing a lot of information on the news about the cases in nursing homes across the country.  The latest numbers are over 6000 COVID-19 cases being identified in nursing homes, with several facilities experiencing multiple deaths.  One of the most telling comments I saw was “we are overrun with it”.  It appears once the virus is in the building it spreads very rapidly throughout the unit.  Some facilities has multiple floors and have been able to contain it to one floor while others are experiencing it throughout their campus, even independent housing residents.  EVERY report I have received, EVERY conversation I have had with facilities with the virus and EVERY national leader who is dealing with it in their state has said the same thing:  NO one wanted the COVID-19 virus to hit their building and are looking for solutions to prevent the spread.   That said, there are facilities who have embraced the virus and have trained staff and are admitting residents into COVID-19 Units across the state.

You may have seen the newest Executive Order from our Governor.  This deals with “Enhanced protections for residents and staff of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic”.  What the bottom line of this executive order does, it says that should a resident with COVID-19 being treated for the virus, is able to be treated at the facilities from which they came from AND the facility has the appropriate and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), then the facility is required to admit them.  But if they cannot be treated at the facility, then when they are virus free and can be discharged back to their usual facility, the facility must take them back.   It is protecting the residents from being sent to other facilities without the ability of returning.  This will mainly impact the people in the Detroit area, where they are estimating 90% of all the long-term care residents will need placement.  This is important because families are still not being allowed to visit the resident in any facility.

Again, I want to say a great big THANK YOU to the many different groups who have reached out to our residents this week.  The cards and notes of encouragement continue to arrive, and the residents LOVE them.  In addition to the cards, we have had goodies delivered by staff and resident families, and the masks have kept coming in!    It is so encouraging to not only the residents but to our staff to see such an outpouring of support.  Again, the list is long and I sincerely hope I did not forget someone and if I did I would ask forgiveness from my senior moment.

Deb Adamski
Centreville Seventh Day Adventist Church
Miley and Mckenna Holden-4-H project
Radiant Life Church
Constantine Wolf Scouts pack 410

St. Joseph County COVID-19 Mask Crafters
Cathie McKenzie
Joyce Weber
Deb Capman
Karen Wegner
Candy Harris
Lindsay Lipscomb
Kendra Lipscomb

Betty Troyer—Lularoe gifts for the Villa staff
Sue Jensen and Angelic Edgerton and the families for staff goodies
Pam Keeslar and Eastwood School for the disinfectant wipes and sanitizers
Bob Weitting for the cash gift to offset the costs of the take out containers

And last but certainly not least the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors and the Department Head team who have provided weekly goodies for our staff—your support is appreciated.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we strive to care for the residents and staff at Thurston Woods Village.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer


April 9, 2020


First as we are in the midst of the holy week of Easter, may we never forget to give God the glory for His wonderful gift as we go into this weekend of celebrating Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, which we celebrate on Good Friday and then His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, proving that we have nothing to fear because Christ conquered death by raising again on the third day!  May you have time to celebrate this season with family and friends in a confines of this stay at home order.  Phones and face time are really our only option but thankfully they haven’t restricted those options.  It is my understanding that the Easter Bunny is an essential business and will not be stopped on his rounds.

As you may remember I shared with you last Saturday of the RECOMMENDED usage of face masks and asked for community support.  Those of you with the sewing talents went to work—and we are overwhelmed with your generosity.  Some of you took of us up on the offer and stopped by for fabric, but many did not.  The face masks started coming in first thing Monday morning and are still arriving.    I have made a conscience effort to make sure I wrote down everyone, but IF I forgot someone in this recognition, I apologize.  It isn’t that we did not appreciate it but in the midst of everything I forgot to write down your name (or you elected not to give us it).


Lori Gray
Bonnie Carpenter
Cindy Horvath
Pam Keeslar
Gerri Schwartz
Connie Gochenaur
COVID-19 Mask Crafters of St. Joseph County
Deb Capman
Kathy McKenzie
Martha David
Sheryl Smith
Candy Harris
Christine Stutzman
Joann Browning
Riverside Church

Special thank you to the STAFF of THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE, you continue to show just how amazing you are as I watch you take care of our residents and each other; the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for your continued show of support, for the donuts delivered this week, and for the words of encouragement with the cards and notes; to the families and friends of our residents who continue to shower their love with visits—windows have never been more important, and their willingness to drop off goodies and supplies; and last but certainly not least, Pam Keeslar and the Sturgis Schools, with their donation of the disinfecting wipes from the classrooms and other supplies.

As we continue to look for ways to combat the COVID-19 virus, we have been holding mail for 24-hours and spraying packages that come in and holding them for the same time.  If you are able to do the same thing prior to dropping something off for the residents, it would be appreciated.  Just take the items and spray with Lysol or something similar and let it set for at least 6 hours prior to bringing it in.  If you can let it sit for 24 hours, it would be best.  However, if the resident has requested something from you and they “NEED IT NOW” do not worry, we will get it to them immediately.  We are just trying to be as proactive as possible, always looking at recommendations with an open mind.

May you be blessed as you have blessed us.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer



April 4, 2020


The CDC just announced a RECOMMENDATION for all staff working in health care to wear masks when caring for residents. We are NOT required to use the specialized equipment they use in the hospital. We anticipated this earlier this week which is why I asked for assistance in making cloth masks.

Our staff will be using masks starting this morning and throughout the weekend with supplies we have on site. However we still need the cloth masks, which is the CDC recommended masks for non-COVID-19 contact.

For those of you who have reached out to me to let me know you are making masks-thank you. We hope to be able to distribute those as quickly as they arrive.

We have staff in the building attempting to notify and calm any anxiety this may cause our residents. Should your family member or friend contact you with this new development, I would ask that you tell them it’s a precaution and not to because we have the virus.

Please know that the staff is being educated about the mask usage and that this precaution does not replace the single most important preventative measure which is hand washing!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the facility or myself. The staff has my cell phone number and I can be reached anytime.

I continue to ask for your prayers as we navigate through this ever changing process.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 2, 2020


As we go into week three of our “lockdown” I wanted to let you know that it appears to be working as we have not had any cases of COVID-19 on our campus, nor have we had anyone with the symptoms that warranted us to test them.  We are very grateful to each of you who continue to bathe us with your prayers; who are reaching out to their families with face time options and bringing in supplies almost daily; and the continued outpouring of support with goodies for the residents and staff.  The staff of Thurston Woods are grateful to the Board of Directors who are willing to help in any way possible, including providing our staff with weekly treats.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  As we continue to have a statewide shortage of supplies, and it is important to save those supplies for the residents and staff should be need them to care for a COVID-19 resident.  To date we do not have clear guidance from the CDC as when it is appropriate to wear masks for everyday use.  However we want to be prepared for when that recommendation does take place.  We are now looking for the community to help in making cloth masks for our staff.   We currently have about 210 staff working, some full time and we are very thankful for those part time staff willing to continue to come to work when called or scheduled.  Right now there is not any discussion about having our residents wear masks at the state or federal level.  Time will tell if that changes.

I know it is a lot to ask, but those gifted with sewing talents (leaves me completely helpless) we would like to give our staff at least two masks—one they can wear and one they can wash.  We do have some fabric available here, we will just need to get it out of storage.  Consequently please call either Theo Omo or Brenda Blucker if you would like some supplies.


Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

March 30, 2020


In the midst of all the uncertainty and frustration of life changes—we are blessed.  We have families who trust us, staff working tirelessly to ensure the residents are not just being cared for but making sure they are loved and comforted as they struggle with understanding why the visits have stopped, and a community that has not forgotten the needs of the residents.  Our staff continues to “shine” as beacons of hope for each resident and fellow staff member , and hopefully to the families as well.

A special thank you to those in the community who continue to think of our staff from homemade cookies, to the TWV Board of Directors for the continual weekly goodies and from Christine Eckleberry (resident family) for pizza.  Your thoughtfulness during this difficult times are encouraging and very much appreciated.

Additional  community thank you acknowledgements are:

Julie Kennard—disinfecting wipes

Tracy Pittenger–disinfecting wipes

Kendra Lipscomb—disinfecting wipes

Dianne Warnement—disinfecting wipes

Dr. Fernando Castro—disinfecting wipes

Brittany Gold, her mom and nephew–colored cards encouragement

Pastor Sue Babb—colored Easter pictures

Cindy Bradshaw and Courtney Mercer—snacks pop, and candy—YES we are still doing BINGO—just creatively!

Riverside Church, Three Rivers—50 Activity Bags—assorted games, puzzles and coloring pages for the residents

Cathie Thomasma—craft kits for the residents

Anyone else I might have missed—thank you!

Also, THANK YOU, for you many thoughts and prayers.  Please continue as we are now told it may be another month before we can open our doors again.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS:   If you would like to sign up for a face to face time with your family or friend please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director for the Nursing Center or Virginia Jordan in the Villa.  They are taking the lead on this project.   Contact Sue at and provide the CODE WORD, or Virginia at and provide the CODE WORD.  If you do not know what the code word is for the resident, please contact the family member in charge as we cannot give it to you.    This protects the residents and families from outside influencers having access to the resident without family knowledge.

Again, thank you for all you do.  You are making a difference.


Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer



March 25, 2020

Dear Families and Friends of our Residents:

I cannot count the number of times I have heard the phrase “we are in unprecedented times”.  We are.  Things are changing so fast that just about the time we think we are well versed, something else happens.  What hasn’t changed is there are still no COVID-19 at Thurston Woods Village.

The most recent information we have is we have not reached the tipping point yet.  There appears to be a gradual movement of the virus from the Detroit and thumb area into the lower counties.  St. Joseph County still is COVID-19 free.  There are not timelines in place in which we can tell you when our Visitor Restrictions will be lifted.

Consequently, I wanted to remind you of how you can continue to communicate with your family member or friend.

  • First, by phone, many of the residents have personal phones, but should they not, we have a designated room in which we can transfer the call to allow for private conversations—just call the main number at 269-651-7841 and we will get you to the right wing of the nursing center or to the Villa.
  • Second, by the old fashion way of written letters—some of the residents are sharing with staff the importance of waiting for those letters to arrive.
  • Third, we have several iPads and other devices in which we can schedule “face time” with your family.  Contact the desk where your family member is located and we should be able to set that up.  (Kudos to Sturgis Schools who has graciously allowed us to use some of their Ipads)  Some staff has also expressed their willingness to have the residents use their personal phones to communicate with you.
  • Fourth, continue to check out the different posts on the Thurston Woods Village Facebook page.  Resident activities are continuing and we are attempting to capture as many events as possible.
  • Fifth, call US.  We will make every effort to keep you informed on what is happening.

What you CANNOT do is ask your loved one to open the window to talk to you!  This defeats the purpose of attempting to prevent the virus from entering into the building.  While some of you want a face to face meeting and that is understandable, please do NOT ask the resident to open the window and remind the resident should they open it to close it immediately.  If your family member does not have a phone and you want to communicate with them via phone at the window, please call and we will make the arrangements for that request to happen.

We are all in this together and together we will survive with God’s grace and adhering to the restrictions put into place by the state and federal governments.

With great regard,

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer


Thank you!

A special thank you to those of you in the community who are thinking of our residents:

Ron Sprowl from Burr Oak Tool—for masks and sanitizers

Michael Slone from Infinity Ink—for gloves, sanitizers, masks and wipes

Hollywood Nails –for several cases of gloves

Dianne Warnement—Disinfecting Wipes

Kendra Lipscomb–Disinfecting Wipes

Jessica Rutenbar from Wall School—Disinfecting Wipes

Kim Hamlin from Wenzel School—Disinfecting Wipes

Julie Kennard—Disinfecting Wipes

Christina Persing—Disinfecting Wipes


God bless your thoughtfulness!



March 20, 2020


Please be assured there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 anywhere on the Thurston Woods Village campus.  In fact no one has been tested for the virus.  There has been confusion with some staff misinterpreting the Influenza virus for the COVID-19 virus.  They are two very different strains of infection, have different symptoms and treatments.  We currently have two cases of Influenza A on our campus.  Both are being treated with antiviral medication.  Additional precautions have been put into place including asking the residents to remain in their rooms and staff are adhering to the CDC guidelines.  Activities and meal options are being provided.

Our staff continues to carry out our mission—living it every day in every way possible.   “Teaming together—residents, families, associates and community, Working to provide responsible healthcare and services, Valuing every individual in the spirit of Christian love.”  The staff are committed to our residents and our families.  They are amazing.

Should you have any concern please contact Virginia Jordan,  Residential Services Director,  Joella Martin, Nursing Center Director of Nursing and head of the Infection Control-COVID-19 response team, or Theo Omo, Chief Executive Officer.

March 19, 2020


Due to the federal mandate limiting group meetings to 10, we are postponing our Annual Employee Meeting scheduled for March 26th.  We will post the meeting date once we have confirmation of the lifting of those restrictions.

The highlight event of our annual meeting for the past several years has been the recognition of employees and the distribution of our “Stay-On” Bonuses.  Those employees who have reached specific milestone anniversaries will be given their check (or check stub if you have direct deposit) by their department head after 2 pm on March 26th.   We will also recognize these milestones when we actually have the Annual Meeting.  We just didn’t want you to wait for your bonus!  A list of the eligible employees will be available at the time clock by March 20th.

Please keep checking  for the posting of the Annual Employee Meeting, we will have all the longevity, Employee Focus Group, the Employee of the Year, and Suggestion of the Year awards at that meeting.

Please know every employee is making a difference in the lives of our residents and we appreciate your efforts.  Thank you for all you do!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


March 16, 2020

A letter from our CEO:

Dear residents, families, visitors and staff:

We are coping with an unprecedented situation of attempting to avoid the COVID-19 from entering onto the Thurston Woods Village campus. We continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we  limit our visitors, we require those entering our campus, including vendors and staff, to show no signs of infection via temperature monitoring and are constantly monitoring websites for additional updates.

Please rest assured we have an amazing staff that has already shown in too many ways to count their commitment to ensuring our resident’s safety remains our top priority.  Some have already volunteered to remain on-site should the need arise. Yes, they are AMAZING.

We have an emergency plan in place; are in constant contact with vendors for supplies-yes, we too, have to deal with toilet paper issues; and are meeting on a regular basis to update policies and procedures to ensure we are following the constantly changing state and federal guidelines/mandates.

Please feel free to drop off any items in the MAIN office for any resident on our campus and we will get those items to your loved one.

If I could ask one thing from the community it would be not to forget those are being quarantined in their areas, assuredly for their own protection but sometimes difficult for them to understand. Now, they are not being allowed to even eat together or play bingo together (today’s mandate). A simple phone call or a card goes a long way to ease their potential isolation.

We will attempt to keep you updated as information is provided.  If you have any questions,or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

**Homes and Gables Residents:  Effective Wednesday, March 18th, we will no longer have dining room services.  Please call by 10 am each day you would like to pick up a “to-go” meal.  IF you have questions, please call Jessie Leathers, Independent Living Director.   We will notify you when regular dining room services will resume.  ALL activities have been cancelled until further notice.


**EASTER EGG HUNT CANCELLED.  Due to the new mandate of no more than 50 person group contact, we have decided to cancel this year’s Easter Egg Hunt.  Please look for information of other events when the COVID-19 crisis is over.  Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you next year.



March 12, 2020

To Our Residents and Family Members:

We know many of you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may impact us here at Thurston Woods Village. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our first priority. At this time, we do NOT have any cases in our center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. However, we need your help in battling COVID-19. Below are some examples of how you can help protect the residents, as well as prevent the spread throughout the community.

At this time, we request that family and friends do not visit the center. Out of an abundance of caution, we are limiting all visitors to our facility unless absolutely necessary. According to the CDC, older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease are at a higher risk of serious illness if they contract the COVID-19 virus. This means that most people in our center are at a higher risk. We are posting signs on our entryway doors to notify visitors of this policy and actively screening individuals, including staff, who need to come into the building.

We understand that connecting with your loved ones is incredibly important, and there are a variety of other ways you might consider communicating with them. These may include telephone, email, text, video chat or social media. If you believe a visit to the center is necessary, we request that you contact us by phone prior to your arrival.

Please make sure we have your most current, emergency contact information. We want to make sure we efficiently communicate with you should there be any new developments. Please reach out to us with your updated contact information. Additionally, we will be updating our Facebook page and digital newsletters. You can sign up to receive these on our website.

Residents, please help prevent the spread of infection by exercising proper hand washing hygiene as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette. We offer hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, which you are welcome to use. Please also avoid shaking hands and hugs with any individual. If you are experiencing a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath, please let a staff member know immediately.

Our center is following the recommendations of the CDC on prevention steps, including following strict handwashing procedures, and in many circumstances, wearing gowns and gloves when interacting with residents who present symptoms. We also are staying up to date with the CDC recommendations as they may continue to change. In addition, our center is in close contact with the local and state health department, and we are following their guidance.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our center at: 269-651-7841

For the latest developments, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease:

Thurston Woods Village