For the past four decades, members of the Whitewater community have celebrated their collective efforts in keeping the doors of Wheat State Manor open to its residents

For the past four decades, members of the Whitewater community have celebrated their collective efforts in keeping the doors of Wheat State Manor open to its residents. The facility, which is run by a group of nine churches in the Whitewater area, celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 11 with a special Mingle at the Manor banquet at the Emmaus Mennonite Church.

“This is a celebration of the people we’ve been able to help in our community,” began Administrator Mike Smith. “We are not only hosting this wonderful event to celebrate our 40th anniversary, but we are also kicking off fundraising for a new wireless call system for our facility.”

The wireless call system, which will help the facility to move toward the first phase of their strategic plan, will help to better the care for the residents.

“The new call system will prevent residents having to wait an extended amount of time for services,” explained Smith. “It will also help the staff be more productive.”

He went on to explain the new call system will allow residents to send a call alert directly to a pager or cell phone, which will be carried by the nursing staff. The improved safety will be a great benefit to the facility and create a more quiet, peaceful environment.

“If anyone has ever visited the manor, they’ve heard the beeping noise that signals a nurse is being called,” said Smith. “It is unmistakable and it can disrupt the environment.”

The call system, while vital to the ongoing improvements planned for the facility, is only the beginning. The facility has developed a three-part strategic plan to improve the manor for future generations.

“As much as we love who we’ve been in the past, we will get left behind if we don’t continue to make improvements,” said Smith. “Almost every nursing facility in the area provides more than one level of care for their residents. The strategic plan proposes several changes which would enable us to provide similar care.”

He went on to explain the first phase of the strategic plan will be for the facility to acquire Sunflower Apartments, which will more than likely occur in late summer. The second phase of the plan involves remodeling of actual nursing home. It will also involve a “change in culture,” for the residents, in which the staff will move more toward honoring the requests of the residents instead of staff members doing what is best for them.

“We would like to make the space we have more personal,” explained Smith. “We need more private rooms and we definitely need more space. Our goal is to make the manor seem more like a home than a hospital.”

The final phase will involve the construction of new facilities to enhance the amount and quality of care offered.

“It is time we put all the important pieces together to offer every level of care our residents deserve,” said Smith. “We want to be a health resource for the community and the communities around us.”

An estimated 225 people attended the celebration banquet to show their support for the facility. Music was provided by the Ed Myers family and Carol Harbert, mother of Wheat State resident Hazel Hilyard, provided a testimony of the genuine care and love present at the facility. The evening ended with heart-warming inspiration provided by speaker Tammy Duvanel Unruh and the release of 40 balloons in honor of the 40 years the facility has served the community. During the event, the facility was able to raise approximately $7,000 to apply toward the wireless nurse call system.

Wheat State Manor of Whitewater is a not-for-profit charitable organization, established and maintained by the Emmaus Mennonite Church, Furley Methodist Church, Grade Hill Mennonite church, Palmyra Baptist Church, Potwin Christian Church, Potwin Methodist Church, Swiss Church, The Federated Church and the Zion Mennonite church. Wheat State Manor is dedicated to continued growth and excellence and hopes to continue serving the community for many more years.

For more information on the call system or to find out how you can make a donation, call 316-799-2181 or visit


Kari Adams can be reached at