The History of Mountain View Nursing Home

       It was August 1961 when Arthur Harris, a retired Methodist minister, first suggested to Noah Keim the need of a “rest home” in Madison County.   Noah presented it to the Oak Grove Mennonite Church. Although the church was interested, there weren’t sufficient funds. Mr. Harris persisted and requested nursing home information from the State Health Department in Richmond.  The information he received seemed to put the project beyond reach financially, but Harris did not give up his dream. In December 1961 Harvey Yoder moved into the new house he had just built. He then decided to take in “guests” (later called residents) into their old house.  Rent was set for $35 per month.  On March 29, 1962, Renie Jarrell was taken in as the first guest. This was the beginning of what was to eventually become Mountain View Nursing Home. As time continued, Harvey felt like this should be a church project.  An operating board was established despite the fact that church funds were still very limited. Board members were Harvey Yoder, Manager; Samuel Hochstetler, Builder; and Joe Overholt, Secretary/Treasurer.  J. Elmer Yoder joined later. On June 13, 1962, the Board and Dr. LeGarde (County Health Doctor) met with state officials to review a proposed plan for remodeling the store building adjacent to Harvey’s old house.  This building had formerly been the Elly Post Office and grocery store. The church was reluctant to spend much money on the old store building.  Harvey offered to donate one acre of land and form a contract to foot all expenses for the remodeling. The church agreed to this and purchased the store building for $7,500 on August 1, 1962.  This gave room for 12 guests. When the board asked Amish Mennonite Aid and Mission Interest Committee about sponsoring the venture, they encouraged the church to continue with it, although the two missions gave an interest-free loan. Until now, the staff had been staying upstairs in the old house.  Harvey contacted the local health department for a permit to add a room onto the store building.  Dr. LeGarde advised them to build a wing instead. The board decided to follow Dr. LeGarde’s advice and added East Hall in the summer of 1963 and started building a dormitory.   This wing included eight patient rooms, four baths, a nurses’ station, office and lobby, making room for 24 guests.  The first 1-W worker, Ernest Lee, began a two year term in September 1963.  His wife, Sovilla, also worked at the home. As more residents and workers arrived, the building and remodeling continued with the office and staff facilities being improved.  The church approved building another wing, South Hall, in 1965.  This brought the capacity to 40 beds and the monthly charge to $225 per month. Eli & Katie Helmuth came to replace Harvey Yoder as administrator at the end of 1967.  The new house Harvey had just built (Dogwood Hollow) was purchased by Mountain View for the administrator’s family to live in.  Also, Owen Yoder came as the first Unit Leader in June.  Part of the dormitory area became their family’s apartment.  Owen Yoder replaced Eli Helmuth as administrator in 1969.

        First called “Mountain View Rest Home”, the name was changed to “Mountain View Nursing Home” about 1970.  Medicaid payments were accepted for the guests, which made for more paperwork for both office and nursing staff.  Incorporation papers were drawn up in 1980. In the fall of 1982, it was required that nurse aides and orderlies have certified training to care for the residents.  An approved curriculum was set up for staff, and the class was taught by Hilda Zook and Brenda Apel.  The first class graduated in 1983. In 1990, Mountain View also started providing assistance for staff wishing to become nurses.  Several candidates are selected each year.  These students live in the dormitory and work at Mountain View part time while they take college classes.  Over forty nurses have graduated from this program. Administrator Owen Yoder had visions of a brand new nursing home that would meet the needs of the residents better, but did not begin the project before he left in 1987 to start Yoder’s Country Market. Eldon Hochstetler followed Owen as administrator in 1987.  With the need for a new facility still present, the church soon agreed to begin a building fund to eventually rebuild the facilities. At the time, the start date was yet lost in the unknown future. In 1990, a carport and office addition was built onto the original building. Central air conditioning and a required sprinkler system were also installed in the original building. But the old building continued to become more and more out of step with the need. In 1996, Tim Miller came on board to head up the newly conceived “Discipleship Program” to provide additional support for the spiritual needs and training of the staff. Along the way, the J. Elmer and Amanda Yoder property (Eagle’s Knoll) was purchased. Then the 30 acre property across the road was acquired.  Even with these purchases, the building fund continued to grow until it reached about $1,200,000. In 2002, the vision was renewed to replace the aging facilities. First, a new Ladies’ Dorm was built. In 2003, a new staff residence was built on the 30 acre property across the road to replace the old “Blue Ridge” house. Blue Ridge Overlook had to be removed to make room for a new Resident wing. Also, about this time, progress was being made on a better water supply system. The new water facility was built with a 10,000 gallon storage capacity, and a workshop was provided on the upper level of the building. The old waste water lagoon was replaced with a smaller, more efficient treatment plant. Today, a beautiful athletic court sits on the site of the old lagoon.

           Next came the actual rebuilding of the nursing facility. It was agreed to tear off the old Activities Room at the end of South Hall and attach a new Resident wing, stretching out towards Lost Mountain Road. The idea was to build this new wing then renovate the old, original building. However, in the Lord’s providence, this plan was altered soon after construction had begun on the new wing. On a certain, fateful day, a remarkable “coincidence” occurred that set the direction for the rest of the project. The local building official showed up at the door, unannounced, accompanied by the fire marshal. This may have been ok but for the arrival of another set of unannounced “visitors” from the Virginia Department of Health who had come to do the annual inspection. These two sets of inspectors had showed up precisely at the same time. Proper triage indicated that the Health Department was priority at that moment in time. This left the building official and fire marshal to do a self-guided tour of the multi-patched together old building. Naturally, the old building was coming under scrutiny due to the addition of a new resident wing. While the annual inspection by the Department of Health turned out fine, the other review resulted in major questions being thrown at the construction details of the old building. This resulted in Oak Grove, as the sponsoring church, going back to the drawing board. In an emergency meeting, the church men decided to move towards a complete rebuild, rather than only remodeling the old resident rooms. So the old nursing facility ended up being completely rebuilt in three phases. The separate phases allowed for the project to go forward while the building was occupied with Residents. The nursing facility complete rebuild was granted final occupancy in 2007. The entire Resident care area indeed stood as a brand new facility with the same 40 bed capacity and the same million dollar view. Considerable funding for this project was obtained from Anabaptist Financial. All of the above improvements and acquisitions to this point had required around $4,300,000. Over half of this was paid in cash funds available. Debt free status was once again achieved within five years of occupancy. The old dormitory was still occupied by the young men on staff as well as the maintenance shop. In 2014, after some rather creative site work involving the hill behind the old tennis court, a second new staff dormitory was constructed. The local church community continues to be influenced by numerous former staff that have stayed in the area. Most of the present ministers of the Oak Grove Church have either worked at Mountain View or served on the Board. Other churches in the area have been similarly impacted. Now over fifty years since March 1962, we have had over 1,000 staff members who have served more than 700 residents.  The room charges went from $35 a month to $6,400 a month.  The work schedule now shows 65 full time and part time staff.  Contributions to missions are continuing strong with around 3 million dollars sent to many ministries around the world. What is Mountain View all about? Is it about the VSers who serve here? Or, is it about the Residents who call this home? Obviously, it’s about both. Very simply, the better we take care of our staff, the better they will care for our Residents. In this way, God continues to get glory from His work at Mountain View!