Despite the rain, a crowd close to 300 people gathered on the grass-covered lawn near Door County Medical Center to watch the ceremonial ground-breaking for a new skilled nursing facility and hospice center.
The fundraising for the project was kick-started by a $2 million donation from Pete and Jelaine Horton who retired to Door County after Pete, a farmer, suffered respiratory damage in a farming accident, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
"We both were impressed with the number of people there. I think this shows how much this facility is needed and how much the community cares," Jelaine said after the event.
Pete's mother died in an Indiana hospice facility that provided a home-like atmosphere and the compassionate care for a peaceful end.
"She felt at home and we felt at home being there with her. They let us bring in beer and watch the Packer game," Pete said.
Every day the couple is reminded of the ephemeral nature of life, Jelaine said. Pete had a brush with death while farming when he was overcome by toxic gas from a grain silo almost 20 years ago. His lungs were damaged and he retired from farming.
Although the couple is from Indiana originally, Pete was familiar with Door County and had purchased a Sturgeon Bay home more than 40 years ago.
"He knew this is where he wanted to come to heal and, now, it's our home," she said.
Read the full story at the Green Bay Press Gazette.