FOREST CITY | For Austin Svejda, who became the new administrator at the Good Samaritan Society -- Forest City on Jan. 1, nursing home care runs in the family.
When he was just 16, he began working in the dietary department at the Good Shepherd Health Center in Mason City, where his father, Mike, was then the chief executive officer.
The younger Svejda worked off and on at Good Shepherd for the next decade. He helped with maintenance and grounds-keeping, and served as the activities coordinator for a time.
After receiving his nursing home administrator's license, he worked at care centers in Ruthven and Monticello.
He and his wife, Jennifer, moved back to North Iowa after their second child was born so they could be closer to family.
Svejda said he was drawn to Good Samaritan because of the organization's Christian background.
At Good Samaritan, decisions are made based "not on the bottom line" but on what the residents want, according to Svejda.
"You don't see that too often in nursing homes," he said.
The commitment to the residents at Good Samaritan care centers shows "from top to bottom," from the administration to the aides and the maintenance employees, according to Svejda.
"It's all about the residents, as it should be," he said.
The mission is to make sure residents have "the quality of life that they need and that they deserve," Svejda added.
He said he enjoys working as a nursing home administrator in smaller communities like Forest City because it's "more of a team effort."
Staff members often know residents before they move to the nursing home because in a small town everyone knows everyone, according to Svejda.
"It's one big, happy family taking care of each other," he said.
Svejda is a graduate of Iowa State University. He studied nursing home administration at Iowa Lakes Community College and Des Moines Area Community College.
He and his family currently live in Mason City. They are looking for somewhere to live closer to Forest City.
Svejda's father recently retired after 40 years with Good Shepherd.
"I use his experience a lot," he said.