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‘I can’t explain how it made me in my heart’: Dickinson long-term care residents have first overnight trip since pandemic began

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Dickinson’s Country House, a long-term care facility, took some residents out for a special ladies night.

We learned all about their experience in the Black Hills.

“I can’t explain how it made me in my heart,” said Marilyn Johnson, a resident at Country House.

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, they decided to take out three of their residents for an overnight outing.

“Abi reached out to a local friend of ours here in Dickinson, Joanna Fuchs. We knew she had a cabin in the Black Hills. And so we kind of pitched our story to her and said we want to take three residents on a girl’s trip to the Black Hills and would you be willing to let us use your cabin? And she immediately said yes,” explained Tessa Johnson, the Executive Director of Country House.

And so it was set and off they went on their two day adventure.

Enjoying an outing full of fun with a fondue dinner, hanging out in a jacuzzi in the middle of winter and even a private lunch looking out at Mount Rushmore.

“They were all handsome, even if they were old rocks,” shared Joan Willett, a resident at Country House.

“I’ve never been in a hot tub before and here I’m sitting and it’s colder than cold. But I’m nice and warm in a hot tub,” shared AnnaMarie Oppegard, a resident at Country House.

Johnson says receiving the vaccine has been a game-changer for them, but they still take all the precautions on their outings.

“Coffee shops, restaurants, wineries. Tons of different places have opened their doors early for us. So they’ve cleaned, sanitized, shut it down to the public,” explained Johnson.

And this trip is the first of many moving forward.

“I wanted to stay. What did I want to come home for? It was wonderful. I can’t express how much fun I had,” shared Willet.

“It was beautiful! And it’s something about it that you just can’t put into words. It’s something that’s there…Holding your mind and your eyes,” shared Oppegard.

All 30 residents have received both vaccines, which Johnson says makes them feel secure to plan more overnight outings.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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