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A special employee: Retired social studies teacher honored for compassionate care in Rosemount

Scott Rohr (right) was given an Augustana Awesome Excellence in Customer Service Award for his attentive care at Rosemont Senior Living at Steeple Center. Housing Director Bill Peters thanked him for his kindness and leadership in moderating a popular weekly current events news discussion. Kara Hildreth / contributor

Residents at Rosemount Senior Living at Steeple Center applauded and hollered when Scott Rohr was personally honored with an award recently.

"You know the employee is special when the entire leadership team wants to nominate him for the Augustana Awesome Excellence in Customer Service Award, and that is the kind of asset Scott is to all of us here," said Bill Peters, housing director at Rosemount Senior Living at Steeple Center.

Rohr works part-time as a meal server in the dining room and takes care to make sure meals are served with a smile when he brings each resident weekday lunches and breakfasts.

"Little did we know the incredible impact he would have on residents and staff and you always know when he is around because he has such positive energy and an intuition to always know what to do," Peters said.

As a Rosemount native, Scott Rohr, 54, is an educator at heart. As a retired social studies teacher, he still craves the teaching and learning interaction. He taught for five years at Rosemount High School and 25 years at Eagan High School.

He grew up in a house off Highway 3, back in 1969 when Rosemount was a small town population with a couple thousand residents.

"Many residents here are parents of my classmates who I graduated with and I have seen most of them in the community my whole life at church and in businesses," Rohr said.

Feeling compelled to volunteer after his parents died, Rohr witnessed how caring and compassionate hospice volunteers were to his sick loved ones and family.

Curious, he asked hospice workers how and why they could do heart-breaking, end-of-life work. The answer he received hooked him into the idea how he must work with seniors in his retirement.

"They told me, 'We look at it and think about ourselves as companions on this stage of their journey,' and so I thought when I am done with teaching, I will see what I can do to be useful," Rohr said.

Being useful in retirement is important, he said. He officially joined the dietary aide staff on the grand opening day, a month and a half after the senior facility opened.

Peters said Rohr truly makes a difference in the residents' quality of life as they live out their golden years.

Rohr leads a weekly current events discussion about news headlines from today and past history. Some topics have been discussions on health care reform, North Korea, global warming and daily news from newspapers, radio and TV.

"I give them background and history and share photographs of people and I give them maps and charts and they will contribute a lot to the topic talk when I say, 'Do you remember who the president was?'" Rohr said.

"I think this is the greatest generation, these people, and that is what is nice about the topic talk because they choose the topics," he continued. "What is interesting is that they still care about the country and they watch the news every day and they have questions on it and like to share their opinions when they come down," he said.

Rohr said some residents are kind of sad about current events, after having lived through the Great Depression, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Watergate.

"They still have a great deal of passion for the country and for its citizens, and they are thinking of their grandkids and they were all very active during the election when the legislators visited, and virtually all of them voted," Rohr said.

Peters touted Rohr's personal work qualities in being responsive to residents' needs and how he takes care to remember each resident's name. Rohr slows down to listen to seniors who share stories.

As a musician, he shared his vocal and guitar music talents and stepped up to entertain at a special music and light show where he brought joy and fun as a hip disc jockey.

Besides giving him the glass award, the Rosemount Senior Living staff gave Rohr a financial gift to give to local 360 Communities in Rosemount under his name. 360 Communities in Rosemount and Dakota County supports families by offering a food shelf and programs that support and enrich youth education.

Besides working as a server, Rohr volunteers at his church and helps with meal prep at St. Stephen's Men's Shelter and visits veterans at the veterans' home in Hastings. Rohr also gives back as a host for game night at another senior living facility.

The center's leadership team appreciates how he always respects residents and jumps in to help at any moment's notice.

"Residents each feel special, like he really does care because he makes sure their needs are met — he is kind spirited and has an immediate positive impact on the entire building," Peters said.

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