July 21, 2012, was the day most of Harmony businesses and residences were plunged into darkness after a transformer blew at the Harmony sub-station.

For residents at Harmony Community Healthcare, the eight-hour wait for power to be restored was aided by a small generator, but director Tim Samuelson and Harmony resident Joyce Jacobson knew that future precautions had to be taken.

Through a $50,000 donation by Jacobson, Harmony Healthcare will be purchasing and installing a new diesel generator for both the clinic and the home. However, more money still needs to be raised.

According to Samuelson, the current natural gas-run generator is original to the facility that was built in 1963. There was a movement to replace it in 1998 as part of an incentive from Minnesota Energy Resources, but they couldn't afford it at that time.

"We've had an idea to replace it for a while," shared Samuelson. "It came to the fore last summer. After the power outage we knew we needed to start campaigning aggressively for it."

The current generator only provides power to the electrical outlets and a few other necessities. When the power went out last summer, the healthcare center was one of only a few places in town that could provide power. The facility saw several people reliant on oxygen tanks stay with them through the night until the power came back on.

"We feel this is a great need for our area," Samuelson said addressing the larger issue of community disaster preparation.

Jacobson remembers not being able to get to sleep that night when the power was still out. Her husband, Murrell, lives at Harmony Healthcare and she was worried about his and the rest of the residents' well-being.

"When the current came on I was still thinking about it," she recalled.

After Hurricane Sandy occurred in late October, Samuelson and the board of directors realized precautions needed to occur soon. "It's important to have an emergency plan and services in place," he said. "Hurricane Sandy and the power outage helped us realize our needs."

The nursing home is looking at purchasing a new self-contained, diesel-run generator that would service the entire facility's electrical, heating and air-conditioning needs. They would like to have it installed before August of this year, but they still need to raise more money.

The generator would cost $75,250 for the generator and complete installation. Samuelson said the facility is looking for outside donors who can step up to support this project. He knows it would be for the greater community's benefit.

"We could do emergency housing and be a place for triage, should the need arise," he said. "As long as we can keep fueling the generator, we can keep everything running."

Samuelson also mentioned that having an independent grid is a need in Harmony's emergency plan for the city.

In addition to the $50,000 donated by Jacobson, Greenfield Lutheran Church has also put forward a donation from their undesignated funds, which can be used for community outreach. Samuelson said he has sent letters to area churches and organizations soliciting donations, but said every little bit from anyone who is willing to donate will help.

"It's worth it if it saves a couple lives and suffering," shared Jacobson. "(Harmony Community Healthcare) can be a community shelter and serve many purposes."

Anyone who would like to donate toward the generator fund can make a check out to the Harmony Community Healthcare Foundation and designate the money to go for the generator. If you have questions, you can call Harmony Community Healthcare at (507) 886-6544.