On a recent Sunday we drove out to the County Home and attended religious services conducted by the Chaplain, Mr. Merle Thomas, one Sunday each month, and where there are about fifty residents of the home. Services were begun by Mr. Thomas playing his harmonica and guitar at the same time, followed by more playing and singing accompanied by Mrs. Howard Ensminger at the piano, and singing very beautifully. Also the audience singing beautifully, especially the ladies and several of the men who sang well.

The number of men in this institution outnumber the ladies very noticeably as in the case in most similar institutions we are informed.

The bright cleanliness of the rooms and also the residents in this home was very pleasantly noticeable. They were all dressed comfortably and neatly and all seemed to enjoy the services immensely.

We were surprised to hear so many testify and quote many sayings of biblical writers, as well as other literary writers, clearly and effectively. Many of these people are refined ladies and gentlemen, who have been crushed and crippled by the machinery of the refining process and are broken in spirit as well as in mind and body. These services co-operatively with the residents were very inspiring to us for their sincerity. It was well to be there.

Many of those living at the Home expressed their thankfulness for the many blessings they enjoyed, not forgetting the efforts of the Superintendent, Mr. Harry Kiger and his many assistants who keep the rooms and furniture so clean and spotless. Neither do they forget to thank in their hearts those reponsible for the splendid devotional exercises conducted by Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Ensminger, together with her mother, Mrs. Scarff, the Rome Post Mistress, who assisted in the services.

Mr. Kiger escorted us through part of the large Home showing the wards where some of the patients seldom leave their ward. There were the six beds to the ward, clean and neat, besides the individual rooms on the one side of the hall.

We were deeply interested in the clothing store room on the ward where he showed us the clothing and shoes, blankets, sheets and mattresses all ready for use when needed. We noticed that they were all heavy and well made of the best material and very durable.

We asked Mr. Kiger - "Where do you get these supplies?" He answered that "most of them are manufactured in the state institutions at Anamosa and Ft. Madison and purchased from them for the use of our institutions here at cost." They are made in the state institutions for other institutions. Not for profit but for USE. I remarked What a lesson in economics given so plainly and effectively. This had not been anticipated by us.

We smell the aroma of coffee coming from the spacious kitchen, so many of the residents bid us good bye and we departed having enjoyed a pleasant and profitable visit to our County Home. Yes, it is OUR home and should be visited and appreciated by more of our citizens.

-- "Bystander's Notes" by Charles S. Rogers, Publisher-Editor of The Free Press [weekly newspaper published in Mt. Pleasant, IA] Wednesday, December 17, 1947 p. 4

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