This is just a small sampling of the many people that it takes to run Gundersen Tweeten Care Center. Together with their staff, these department heads run a thriving organization. Pictured are, Michelle Borreson, administrator; Sharon Auna, social services designee; Chris Loppnow, office manager; Karen Hanson, director of nursing; Gloria Oakes-Speltz, activity director; Tim Rieck, financial director; and Carl Magers, maintenance engineer. Not pictured is Dee Dee Valadez Vick, dietician/ dietary manager.
This is just a small sampling of the many people that it takes to run Gundersen Tweeten Care Center. Together with their staff, these department heads run a thriving organization. Pictured are, Michelle Borreson, administrator; Sharon Auna, social services designee; Chris Loppnow, office manager; Karen Hanson, director of nursing; Gloria Oakes-Speltz, activity director; Tim Rieck, financial director; and Carl Magers, maintenance engineer. Not pictured is Dee Dee Valadez Vick, dietician/ dietary manager.
Compiled by Gundersen Tweeten and Spring Grove Herald

The roots of Gundersen Tweeten Care Center started in 1916 when the "Spring Grove Hospital" was built on South Division Ave. This hospital served the people of Spring Grove in all aspects of their health care including surgery and infant delivery.

Oscar and Zena Tweeten were originally from Spring Grove and moved to Chicago to start a manufacturing business. In early 1960, the Tweetens returned to Spring Grove with the idea that a new hospital would be built.

Construction of the new facility began in 1962 at its current location on Fifth Avenue SE and included a 20-bed hospital and a 31-bed nursing home. An open house ceremony was held on Aug. 18, 1963, and it was named Tweeten Memorial Hospital and Convalescent Home in honor of the Tweetens who were generous benefactors in the original cost of the hospital.

Over the years, the facility has continued to evolve and grow both as a hospital and eventually as a nursing home facility.

In the fall of 1967, a wing was added to the hospital, which brought the licensed capacity to 38 beds. In the fall of 1972, an addition to the nursing home was completed, which included a large multi-purpose solarium, craft room, beauty shop and chapel, bringing the licensed capacity to 47.

In April of 1976, the south wing of the hospital was converted to a skilled nursing facility due to a low hospital census.

In January of 1979, Tweeten Memorial received authorization from Minnesota Department of Health to convert four hospital beds to skilled nursing. Also in 1979, the former Labor and Delivery area was remodeled to create a new four-bed skilled nursing room, a whirlpool bathroom and a small office room.

During the spring of 1986, the Spring Grove Hospital Association began negotiating with various organizations for a possible sale of Tweeten Memorial Hospital.

In September of 1986, Lutheran Health System- La Crosse purchased the hospital, clinic and nursing home, renaming the facility Tweeten/Lutheran Healthcare Center.

The new board of directors was comprised of individuals from Lutheran Health System and people from the local community.

Following this, the facility developed programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, developed a swing-bed program in the hospital, and acquired a podiatry practice in Decorah, Iowa.

In addition, a general medicine physician, Dr. Glenn McCarty, was recruited for Spring Grove. During the summer of 1992, hospital administration received approval from the board of directors to begin a 2,700 sq. ft. addition, which would add three more clinic rooms and add needed additional office space.

This was made possible by generous donations from the community and from the Tweeten Foundation.

In 1993, the facility started a patio project with memorials from families of former residents and proceeds from sales of the 30th anniversary cookbook.

In October of 2001, the 10-bed hospital was closed for financial reasons and changes in hospital regulations.

A 12-bed dementia unit "The Woodlands" (formerly Unit 1) was created in 2002. This was updated with a dining room, kitchenette and patio in 2009 to provide a more home-like atmosphere.

For a short period of time, the facility's name was changed to Tweeten Health Services and then returned to Tweeten Lutheran Healthcare Center, Inc. in 2004.

In 2005, the facility contracted with Aegis Therapy Company who continue to provide inpatient as well as outpatient rehabilitation today.

The attached clinic with x-ray and lab services is open Monday through Friday with Dr. Robert Breitenbach as its medical director since 2007.

Today, Gundersen Tweeten Care Center is a thriving organization with 84 employees, being one of the largest employers in the city of Spring Grove.

The facility offers compassionate care with trained professionals, a rich variety of activities in a friendly environment, excellent meals with specialized diets and a goal to promote the health and happiness of each individual resident.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, there will be an open house at its facility, 125 5th Ave. SE in Spring Grove on Sunday, July 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. There will also be a bake sale featuring Norwegian food items to raise money for the upcoming Relay for Life.