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Thorne Crest welcomes new administrator

With her passion and experience in dedicated health care, Craig-Paulson settles into her new role

By Sara Qualley

For Lorna Craig-Paulson, Thorne Crest Senior Living Community’s new administrator, coming to Albert Lea is an opportunity to serve a brand new community.

Craig-Paulson is a native of Armstrong and has worked in health care since 1980 when she was a junior in high school and worked as a dishwasher at a care facility. She received her bachelor’s in health care administration and marketing from American InterContinental University in Schaumburg, Illinois. She’s managed skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and family care units. Getting to know each resident is one of her favorite aspects of her work.

“I didn’t have grandparents locally growing up, so it kind of filled a void,” Craig-Paulson said. “I like working with the elderly. They have a lot to offer you. Their stories are amazing. I think you can probably get more from an elderly person than you can out of a history book sometimes.”

Thorne Crest intrigued Craig-Paulson with its continuum of care opportunities. It offers independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, transition care for rehab and returning home and a wellness center. She’s never seen such a variety of facilities in southern Minnesota and wanted to become a part of Thorne Crest’s progression.

Craig-Paulson resides in Fairmont, but hopes to become more involved in the Albert Lea community. Since her first day on June 1, she’s enjoyed seeing the “mini festivals” along the lakes, where bands play and people gather.

Thorne Crest Senior Living Community Administrator Lorna Craig-Paulson, right, speaks with Activities Director Marilyn Claassen. Sara Qualley/Albert Lea Tribune

“It’s just so neat to watch that stuff going on every week,” she said. “Eventually, I hope to be able to participate in it down the road.”

In her free time, she enjoys fishing, riding Harley motorcycles and spending time with her family and grandchildren.

Thorne Crest has offered Craig-Paulson a warm welcome, and she describes the staff and residents as amazing and friendly. She’s impressed by everyone’s resilience with the pandemic and the staff’s determination to stay up to date on COVID-19 developments.

“They’re genuine,” Craig-Paulson said. “They’re here for the right reasons.”

Becoming part of such a hardworking team has been rewarding, and she looks forward to learning with them and building even more camaraderie. Whether she’s been attending team meetings or visiting with residents during coffee hours, she’s enjoyed her time at Thorne Crest. She cited the well-known proverb, “If you love what you do, you never work another day in your life.”

One of Craig-Paulson’s top priorities is looking after the wellbeing of staff, residents and residents’ family members. The community has been accommodating, and she hopes to pay that forward.

“We can grow together, we can learn together, we can make mistakes together and learn from them,” Craig-Paulson said.