Based in West Bend, Wis., Cedar Community is the nation’s 86th largest not-for-profit, continuum of care provider whose mission is “dedicated to creating relationships, services and environments that enhance the lives of individuals we serve.”
In 1953, aging bachelor farmer William Koehl donated his property overlooking West Bend’s Big Cedar Lake to the United Church of Christ to serve the elderly. In 1956, Cedar Community opened its first nursing home there. Under the guidance of Executive Director Rev. Louis Riesch, Cedar Lake Home grew over the next 35 years to provide as many as 415 skilled care nursing home beds.
Rev. Riesch, acknowledged nationally as a pioneer in aging services, created one of the nation’s first nursing facilities dedicated solely to the unique needs of those suffering memory loss in 1976. Ten years later, Cedar Valley Retreat Center, on 100 acres in nearby Kohlsville, was opened, as well as Cedar Ridge, a 312-unit apartment complex for active and independent seniors. Riesch also oversaw the development of four independent Village Homes for active, retirees over the course of his career, as well as one of the nation’s first not-for-profit rehabilitation agencies. He retired in 1991 and passed away in 2007, but his legacy lives on.
Riesch was succeeded by Steve Jaberg, Cedar Community’s current chief executive officer, and the organization continues to expand its mission under his leadership. From homes and apartments for active and independent retirees, to assisted living, subacute (short-term) care, rehabilitation, skilled nursing and memory loss services, Cedar Community’s continuum of care provides the reassurance that, should a resident’s needs change, he or she has ready access to all levels of a long tradition of quality care. Now five campuses and 16 divisions strong, with more than 1100 residents, Cedar Community employs more than 700 employees, and benefits from the dedication of more than 500 volunteers. Cedar Community serves hundreds more in five southeast Wisconsin counties through its outreach and home health and home hospice services.