Jan. 10, 2020 — In 1922, a Lutheran pastor, August Hoeger, was concerned about the needs of children crippled by polio. Inspired by the Bible story in the Book of Luke, he founded the Good Samaritan Society in Arthur, North Dakota. He started raising money, and the response was so positive that he surpassed his goal by $2,000. He put the extra money to work, opening his first Good Samaritan center in 1923; it was a six-room home in Arthur that cared for children with epilepsy.

Seven years later, the Good Samaritan Society opened its first home for the elderly in Fargo, and by 1940, the Society had branched into 27 communities in 10 states. By the time Reverend Hoeger died at age 85 in 1970, the Society had grown to 150 facilities caring for 12,000 residents. Two sons and a grandson carried on the virtuous pastor’s work, and the Society now cares for 28,000 residents in 240 facilities in 26 states.

“Dakota Datebook” is a radio series from Prairie Public in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council. See all the Dakota Datebooks at prairiepublic.org, subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast, or buy the Dakota Datebook book at shopprairiepublic.org.

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