Employee Spotlights

‘Part of the family since the day he was born’: Jordan’s story

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Today we share a Better Together story that has been generations in the making.

More than 30 years ago, from his home country of India, Oommen Simon dreamed of “a new opportunity for life” and came to live in America, says his son Jordan.

A door opened at Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park, MN, where Oommen (better known as Simon) started as a cook and then dazzled in maintenance for the next three decades.

main receptionist
From left: Sue Almquist, office manager, and Jordan Simon, main receptionist, at Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park, MN. “Jordan has a heart of gold and it shows!” says Sue.

Simon met his wife Lisa, a dietary aide who developed into a culinary supervisor and later celebrated 20 years of service.

Neighbors to many, also family

Raising a family just a stone’s throw from Lake Minnetonka Shores — where they lived in employee housing — the Simons weren’t only neighbors to many, but family.

And their son Jordan “has been part of the family since the day he was born,” says Rob Lahammer, former long-time campus administrator of Lake Minnetonka Shores.

Starting as an employee at age 15 in the culinary department, more recently Jordan Simon served as a community support specialist at a critical time in the pandemic. Today he is Lake Minnetonka Shore’s main receptionist.

“Jordan creates an outstanding first impression for all guests — with a remarkable skill to greet almost every person by name as they take their first steps in the door,” says current Campus Administrator Lydia Buetow, adding, “He treats everyone with respect, love and grace.”

“I pretty much know this place inside and out,” Jordan acknowledges with a lovable grin. His memory can travel all the way back in time to playing with a favorite Lego set in the daycare while his dad finished working. He also remembers, from the time of elementary school, “I would always come over here for lunch and eat with my mom and dad.”

The family’s proximity to the community benefitted everyone. “With us living so close,” Jordan recalls, “we saved a lot of money: gas, wear and tear. And whenever they needed us, we were always here. So, if there was a power outage or a flood, my dad would be the first person they’d call — and he’d be right over here.”

Watching his parents’ service and dedication to older adults taught him early on. Jordan says, “My parents always said to treat others as you want to be treated.”

Now, he says, they look at him and say, “We couldn’t be happier to have someone like you.”

Rob feels both pride and gratitude to the Simon family. “Jordan’s smile, good nature and laugh make me feel like an old family friend whenever I visit. I am so proud of him and his parents for all their great work and the next generation serving at Lake Minnetonka Shores.”

Jordan packs a delightful surprise

Some react with shock upon learning that Jordan is a full-time receptionist in a senior living community. They’ll say, “Oh, I didn’t know younger people or a man would want to do that stuff!”

Jordan keeps his reply simple: “Yeah, I really enjoy it! It makes my day. It makes me wanna get up and go to work.”

Connecting with residents matters most to Jordan. “When they see me, their day is just so brightened up. I’m so happy to see them, and they’re happy to see me.”

Of course, when they first meet, the reaction can be surprise. Jordan recalls, “The first time I answered the phone [from the main desk], someone’s like, ‘Oh, a man is on the phone! We haven’t had that in so long!’”

With a good-natured laugh, Jordan said he just replied, “Yep, I’m right here.” ????

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers.

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