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Potter Ridge residents live their dreams

Berdella Cooper (left) and Rose Larson are two of the residents at Potter Ridge Assisted Living who have shared their personal dreams as part of the Dream Project. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia

Rose Larson was in Colorado when she saw more than 100 hot air balloons in the air. Some of them landed in a field across the road from where she watched.

"I made up my mind right there that that was going to be on my bucket list," she said. "There is a place here in Minnesota where you can go and get on a balloon, so maybe it is going to happen."

Her friend, Berdella Cooper, has spent years creating and collecting recipes. She has photos of family events where those dishes were served, and she dreams of having a recipe book with family photos published.

"I thought it would be nice to have these recipes to hand down to the family, but I didn't know where to start," Cooper said. "Now, I am going to get help with this, thanks to the Dream Project."

The Dream Project is the creation of staff members at Potter Ridge Assisted Living in Red Wing. They asked residents to identify something they would like to do or something they would like to have as their dream.

Making residents' dreams come true requires both money and effort. To help with costs, the project will feature a silent auction 1- 4 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Potter Ridge. Anyone can donate items for the auction. Businesses and individuals may also donate services or provide help to make specific dreams come true.

Then, Potter Ridge will hold a ceremony at 2 p.m. March 30 so the residents can receive their dreams. Each resident will also receive a letter of encouragement, written by volunteers.

"We have a lady who will be 101 and all she wanted is a professional manicure," said Jamie Miller, community life coordinator. "S.W.A.T. was very quick to say they would donate that for her."

Paige Anderson, director of Potter Ridge, said one woman remembers going to the Sheldon Theater as a child. "They donated tickets, so she can go see an event and see the renovation."

Anderson said the Dream Project grew out of an earlier event called the Kindness Project based on four weeks of random acts of kindness. The project culminated in Bubbles in the Park when Potter Ridge staff and residents met with more than 100 kids in Bay Point Park.

Most of the Potter Ridge residents were very active in the community throughout their lives, according to Anderson, but when they come to assisted living, it is more difficult to stay involved. That can be discouraging or depressing for them. The Dream Project is one more opportunity to stay involved.

Anderson said there is a good chance that "all the dreams will come true."

The Dream Team, including Anderson and Miller along with Tim Alms, maintenance director, and Taniel Schellbach, lead care manager, are coordinating all the events.

Anyone who wants to donate money, items for the auction, services, or writing a letter, can contact Anderson at 651-388-1546 ext. 10.

Steve Gardiner

Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming.  He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018.  He focuses on features and outdoor stories.  

(651) 301-7872