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Lights of honor

Residents and community members bow their heads in quiet reflection beneath glowing Lights of Honor last week, part of a fundraiser for Ecumen Scenic Shores' recreation fund. Photo by Mistyn Haig

Fifty softly glowing lanterns lit up the main room last Thursday at Ecumen Scenic Shores in Two Harbors as a group of residents and community members bowed their heads in quiet reflection.

The weather outside was cold and rainy, but inside loved ones were remembered warmly as Ecumen celebrated its 150th year as a nonprofit organization.

"We thought it would be a great time to recognize Ecumen and its 150 years of dedication as a nonprofit as well as to honor those who have impacted our lives," Executive Director Blaine Gamst said.

The Lights of Honor ceremony also served as a fundraiser, raising about $1,800 for Ecumen's recreation fund, which pays for in-house recreation activities as well as off-campus trips like lunches in Two Harbors or day trips to Duluth.

"It was a packed house," Gamst said.

Ecumen purchased the assisted living facility, formerly known as Sunrise Nursing Home, from Lake County in early 2011. The Minnesota-based company began as a Lutheran social service agency in 1862, providing foster care. It began serving aging citizens at the start of the 20th century and renamed the senior housing and services branch Ecumen (from the Greek word for home) in 2004.

"That's been our mission since our beginning: to create home," Gamst said.

Providing recreation for their residents is a large part of that, he added. Ecumen is a nonprofit, so any excess funds are invested back into the care center -- making it feel a little more like home for the residents like Phyllis Hurd. She loves to knit, and the recreation fund provides supplies for her to do so.

"I like being thanked for making (dish cloths and slippers). I feel appreciated. People need to be thanked," Hurd said.

Their next fundraiser is the Tree of Lights. For $10, community members can purchase a light to honor a loved one. To purchase a light, call Mistyn at 834-8471 or stop by Ecumen Scenic Shores on Highway 2.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
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