Lake City, Iowa: A Career of Dedication in the Dietary Department


Recently Shady Oaks congratulated Dietary Manager, Minnie Huster for her 45 years of service. Minnie began her career on August 13, 1973. She was hired as a dietary aide. By 1979 Minnie assumed the managerial responsibilities of the dietary department when her supervisor retired. In addition to her work experience, Minnie completed a 90-hour food service class to qualify for this position. In the 1990’s she retook the class again, which by this time was a 240 hour commitment. As a result, Minnie became a “C.D.M. – Certified Dietary Manager.” From the very start, Minnie continued working at Shady Oaks because she was motivated by a heart of service to others. As Minnie describes, “I love getting to know the residents and their families. I am here to provide a personal touch to all of the dietary services offered.” Over the years, Minnie’s dedication to the residents and their families has been a constant source of comfort and inspiration to everyone. Times have changed, but Minnie’s personal approach and dedication to excellence have remained a steadfast quality of the dietary department. When Minnie began at Shady Oaks in the 1970’s the size of the building, its interior spaces, and decor was much different than today. Dietary arrangements have also changed. Years ago a five meal plan was followed. Everyone was offered the same meal and ate at the same times during the day. Today’s dietary approach, emphasizes resident choice and offers buffet dining. Dining hours are also flexible. Minnie has welcomed all of these changes in the dietary department. Minnie explains, “Every change is a learning opportunity. I realize that meeting everyone’s preferences can be a challenge at times. But, me and my staff are here to listen to a resident’s requests and to do everything possible to make those requests a reality.” This is not the only aspect of Minnie’s job that has brought her personal and professional satisfaction. “I enjoy cooking all kinds of foods, and I enjoy helping out in all areas of the dietary department. Serving the special holiday meals is one of the favorite times I will remember,” she adds. In looking to the future, Minnie anticipates continuing to provide excellent dietary services for the current residents of Shady Oaks. She also is proud of the fact that during the course of her career she has mentored many young employees who began their first job in the dietary department. Two of those employees continued on to become dietitians after working with Minnie. So, Minnie looks forward to not only encouraging youth to consider the dietary field as an excellent career choice, but also continuing her dedication to provide exceptional, personal dietary service to the new, incoming residents of Shady Oaks and their families.

Excellent Teams-We will select and develop team members who radiate warmth, compassion and respect while skillfully performing their duties.

Submitted by Deb Jones, Life Enrichment Coordinator

Shady Oaks Care Center, Lake City, Iowa