Jon Morgan being presented with his award

Jon Morgan: An Inspiring Story

Jon Morgan is the Maintenance Director at Compass Senior Living’s communities in Green Bay, Wisconsin. And this is his story.

Dennis Garboden and Will Forsyth, Compass Senior Living principals, traveled to Green Bay last week to present Jon with the newly created Jon Morgan Award. When presented with the award, Jon said, “Thank you all again so much. You caught me off guard but it’s a real honor to have my name attached to your award. Without the support of all of you and my coworkers, who helped me mentally, I couldn’t have done it, so those are the true heroes to me. Thank you so much.”

These are Dennis’s words about how the award came to be:

On Labor Day of 2016 Jon had his foot amputated above the ankle due to unknown circulatory problems.  It was a situation that may have left most people devastated.  Jon was different – demonstrating uncommon optimism and courage.

Jon immediately started talking about learning to walk with a prosthesis and getting back to his life and to work.  As soon as was possible – Jon was visiting the communities – and if not quite able to do a job himself, was supervising and assessing and making sure things got done.  Jon had the attitude of “well, what can you do?”, as well as “other people have it worse”.  He even had a better sense of humor about himself and his situation surrounding this – than most others did.  He jokes about it and has even has a name for his stump:  Odie.   He also said that he thinks his golf game may have improved since!

Jon teaches us that adversity is inevitable, but difficulties or misfortune don’t have to keep us from achieving our intended goals and finding happiness in work and in life.  It’s how we overcome these adversities that can make all the difference. Every challenge successfully conquered serves to strengthen not only our will, but also our confidence, and therefore our ability to confront future obstacles.

Jon Morgan is the inspiration for the new Morgan Hero award.   His selfless acts of goodness for those he serves, inspires greatness, and demonstrates Compass Senior Living’s values of goodness, loyalty, faith, and fun. We have many Morgan Heroes working with us, and we are very proud and humbled to honor Jon as the inspiration for our first Morgan Hero Award.

Jon Morgan, we are grateful for your example to all of us.

For years to come, Compass communities will be given the opportunity to nominate other deserving employees based on Jon’s inspiring story from which the following criteria has been developed:

  • Maintains a strong work ethic and it is recognized by others
  • Has a sense of humor, makes us laugh, and takes things ‘lightly’
  • Takes notice of others and lends a hand to help, expressing kindness
  • Explores and seeks solutions for the greater good
  • Shares the workload and knows what needs to be done–and does it with grace and a generous spirit
  • Has open, spontaneous, comfortable, and uplifting communication with others
  • Gives heartfelt support and encouragement, genuinely caring for the team, families, and the elders
  • Has others’ backs during hard times and good times
  • Is a calm, inspiring leader and friend when things go wrong and when things go right
  • Does not blame or complain, embracing lessons learned
  • Thinks optimistically in the face of challenges encouraging and cheering on the team
  • Sees the True North qualities in other people– demonstrating humility and appreciation for the greatness in others
  • Communicates with goodness, confidence, and a positive spirit– expecting excellence
  • Has a welcoming smile, knows how to have fun and is a good listener
  • Has faith that if we do the right things, the right things happen
  • Takes ownership for mistakes, accepts responsibility, and seeks innovative solutions when things go wrong
  • Views each new situation as an opportunity to take initiative and make a difference or improvement
  • Even when things are stressful, has the ability to focus on what needs to be done, expressing gratitude to others as an example and role model of a True North Leader


We look forward to many years of honoring these amazing people in our midst. Thank you Jon for your inspiration!

The day of the eclipse August 21, 2017

st louis eclipse path

I was traveling to St. Louis by plane the day of the eclipse, as the path of totality began its journey across the United States.     St. Louis got literally sliced in half by the path of totality, and the airport and the Arch did not get totality.

My plane landed at 1:00 pm, and I knew totality would be at 1:18.   I ran through the airport, past baggage claim and outside where people were looking up.   It was bright and sunshiny.   I  took my eclipse glasses out of my briefcase and stood with the onlookers.  I was able to see the eclipse as the moon covered most of the sun. Several of us started sharing our eclipse glasses with one another.   Everyone was very quiet.   There were only a few seconds when the light dimmed.  A great moment!

I was headed to Illinois where we have 5 Assisted living communities in Waterloo, Columbia, Red Bud, and Millstadt.  The residents and the employees celebrated the eclipse with gusto.  A once-in-a-lifetime experience for employees, families, and our 80 and 90-year-old residents!

The path of totality started in Oregon, where our home office, Compass Senior Living is located.  While our Eugene office was not in the path of totality, one of our new construction projects, Juniper Springs Senior Living, located in Redmond Oregon was.

For the elders, families, and our employees in Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Illinois – we will always remember where we were during the 2017 United States Eclipse!


About the Author: Jean Garboden is the Director of Education and Innovation at Compass Senior Living, located in Eugene Oregon. Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for-profit health care organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living. Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada.



Campground Conversations – Elder storyteller

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”– Rudyard Kipling

Every year, my son and I celebrate by doing something we both love…camping, kayaking, being in nature, and experiencing things together for just 24-36 hours a year!  This year, after work, we headed up to Door County Peninsula Park in Wisconsin.


It was a dark and rainy evening. We arrived at our campground by Rowley’s Bay, WI. The wonderful ladies who checked us in told us everything we needed or wanted to know about what was in the area and where we could grab a great meal.

Unfortunately, we didn’t think we would make the renowned Fish Boil and performance that was down the road via a trail through the woods. After settling in, we decided to head down the trail, (the rain had stopped for us) and at least get the dinner if we missed the “performance”.

We arrived at the Inn,  and walked inside, quietly joining the crowd that was intently listening to the story that was being told.

In the center of this crowd was a man sitting backwards on his roller walker. We caught the last third of the story, but we looked at each other and knew—we had stumbled into something really awesome and special. This story telling gentleman was filling the space  with his rich voice and using his hands to help envision what he was sharing. My son and I became instantly enthralled with his story and his large capable hands that showed all the signs of an experienced, full life.


He told the story of the history of the bay and surrounding area. He was a descendant of the original family who settled the area. He told the story about the beginnings of a fish boil and what to expect once we all gathered outside around the cauldron.

I don’t remember how old he said he was,it didn’t matter.  What mattered was my son and I were able to have this memorable experience together–witnessing the amazing gift of a wise and talented story teller – way up north at the end of the Door County peninsula, at a campground—in a Yurt.

Now this unforgettable elder is part of our story.

Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, and challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Our storytelling ability, a uniquely ancient human trait, has been with us as long as we’ve been able to speak and listen. Not only do people love to tell stories, people love to hear stories!

I work at Carolina Assisted Living in Appleton, WI.  We have an exciting opportunity to harvest the wisdom, the humor, and memories we hear every day. We live and work beside elders who have journeyed almost a full century on this planet. Through their stories, we connect with one another while giving our resident storytellers the gift of reconnecting   with us, their children, and grandchildren for generations to come.

We are preserving stories in audio, video, and written form to cherish these precious moments!

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” – Dalai Lama

Learn more about legacy collection and the Tiny Stories project!     Watch and listen to this 50 second Tiny Story gift from Nancy Youngans, who tells us about her trip to Verona Italy, and what she learned.

About the author:  Eileen English is the administrator at Carolina Assisted Living in Appleton Wisconsin.  (Carolina is part of the Compass Senior Living family)

Eileen  has worked with elders for more than 40 years and feels her work is a passion, not a job. She was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and later became a Coast Guard wife – eileen-wilsonwhich took her all over the country. She has lived in many states but is happy to now be in Wisconsin near two of her grandchildren. In her free time, Eileen enjoys being outside hiking, kayaking and camping, and spending time with her two sons and three grandchildren.