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For nearly 4 decades, Joan Moore of Carlos has been making residents of Bethany on the Lake happy.

A 1983 Alexandria graduate, Moore started working at Bethany when she was 16 years old.

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Joan Moore, left, reads to Lorraine Benesh, a resident of Bethany on the Lake. Moore has been a certified nursing assistant and resident assistant at the senior care facility in Alexandria for nearly 40 years. She is one of several employees who have worked at Bethany for four decades. (Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press)

Making residents happy is what makes Joan Moore happy.

Moore, 56, of Carlos, is a certified nursing assistant and a resident assistant at Bethany on the Lake. Her goal is to work at the senior care facility for 50 years.

She’ll reach that goal in 11 years, she said.

A 1983 Alexandria graduate, Moore started working at Bethany when she was 16 years old. She applied at several places, but it was Bethany where she was hired. She explained that when she went to the facility to get an application, she was asked if she could do an interview right on the spot and within 10 minutes she was hired.

“I didn’t expect that. I actually didn’t think I would even get a call back,” she said. “I was so excited and when I walked out, I thought, ‘Did that just really happen?’"

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Sybil McCabe, who at the time was the director of nursing, is the one who hired Moore. More than three decades later, Moore received an opportunity to visit with McCabe, who was in Alexandria for a get-together on Saturday, July 31. McCabe, 99, worked and lived in Alexandria for many years. She currently lives with her daughter, Peggy McCabe, in Eagan, Minn.

Peggy McCabe said it was so special that Moore took the time to visit with her mom.

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Joan Moore, right, is pictured with Sybil McCabe during a gathering in Alexandria on Saturday, July 31. McCabe, 99, who was the clinical director at Bethany on the Lake in the 1980s, hired Moore when she was only 16. Moore still works at Bethany while McCabe now lives in Eagan with her daughter. (Contributed photo)

“It was really touching,” she said. “It meant a lot to my mom that Joan remembered her. Joan even brought her a rose and my mom loved that.”

She also said that her mom was a good judge of people and that she must have seen something special in Moore and knew she would be nice to the residents.

Moore said, “It was amazing to visit with Joan. She held my hand and we talked. It made me a little teary. It was so special.”

The two haven’t had a chance to connect in many years and Moore said she has always wanted to meet up with Sybil McCabe so she could thank her for taking a chance on her and hiring her all those years ago. Moore even remembers what her starting wage was.

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“I was making $2.65 an hour,” she said, adding it was more than what she was making working at Freeway Skelly, a truck stop restaurant in Alexandria that used to be located about where Fleet Farm is currently, on 50th Avenue South.

‘So good to me’

When asked what she loves about working at Bethany on the Lake, Moore said there are many things, but the residents were number one. Currently, Moore works in Pelican Bay, which is the memory care unit at Bethany.

She loves building relationships with the residents.

“I get so close with everyone,” she said. “Walking down the hall, they’ll say hi or wave and smile. They know you.”

And she loves working for Bethany.

“They’ve always been behind me 200%,” she said. “And they’ve been so good to me.”

Moore had to be out for 18 weeks and she said the company worked with her and that it meant so much.

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Joan Moore, who is now in her fifties, is pictured in the 1980s holding her nursing uniform. At 16, she started working as a certified nursing assistant at Bethany on the Lake. Her goal is to work at the senior care facility for 50 years. (Contributed photo)

Sara Justison, the marketing director, said Moore is the kind of employee everyone needs on their team.

“When it comes down to it, she is here for our residents above all else and she cares for them like family,” she said. “That is a core value that cannot be taught, and matters more than anything else.”

Moore said when she started 39 years ago, she kind of wanted to climb up the nursing ladder, but said she really prefers being an aide.

“I have the best of worlds working in Pelican Bay,” she said, noting that she gets the opportunity to do hands-on cares, but that she also gets to spend time reading to the residents, which she loves.

She also loves to make homemade lefse and homemade ice cream for them, as well as homemade fudge topping.

“I just fit right in,” she said, smiling from ear to ear.

She just clicks

Looking back over her career, Moore has many wonderful memories. She shared a story about a Bethany resident from several years ago. She said the resident, at first, didn’t really communicate.

“For some reason, we just clicked and she eventually started communicating,” said Moore, adding that the resident even ended up singing happy birthday to an employee one time. “It was awesome.”

Over the years, Moore has had many relatives work at the facility with her and she has also had several who have lived at Bethany, including her grandparents.


"Her heart is solid gold and she gives 110% of heart to her job, the residents and her coworkers."

- Melissa Braund, clinical manager of Pelican Bay at Bethany on the Lake


She has seen many changes occur in the nearly 40 decades she has been a CNA. Patient care products have vastly improved throughout the years and there have been major improvements with technology, as well, she said.

But for Moore, it truly doesn’t matter what changes take place. For her, it really boils down to making the residents as happy as they can be, putting smiles on their faces and simply just being there for them.

Melissa Braund, clinical manager of Pelican Bay, called Moore a one-of-a-kind employee.

“Her heart is solid gold and she gives 110% of heart to her job, the residents and her co-workers," said Braund.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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