Giving From the Heart



Joe and Janice Lueken know firsthand the importance of having quality health care available close to home. They both had health issues in the 1990s that caused them to travel across the state seeking treatment that was not available at home in Bemidji.

Today, however it’s a different story. Recently Janice underwent hip replacement surgery at Sanford Bemidji Orthopedic Clinic with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jason Caron. “Out of town care is often impersonal. Dr. Caron’s care was outstanding and it was so nice to be close to home,” Janice said.

Long-time supporters of the Bemidji community, the Luekens were inspired to support the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota’s recent project, Together. For Life., when they heard of the extraordinary impact it would have on the ability for hundreds of patients each year to receive the care they need right here at home. The campaign made two new services possible in Bemidji: 24-hour cardiology care and the da Vinci® robotic surgical system.

“We have witnessed amazing growth in the health care available in Bemidji over the years and it has been extremely beneficial for our community and region as a whole,” Janice said. “We are fortunate to have this kind of superior care here and are proud to support its growth.”

According to Penny Echternach, Executive Director of Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota, the generosity of the Luekens and many other donors ensures miracles in medicine happen every day at Sanford Bemidji. “We are so grateful for the Luekens’ leadership in making this gift, and for their support in making these vital new services possible at Sanford Bemidji,” she said. “In addition to bringing the miraculous tool of da Vinci® robotics here, the new cardiology center offers patients the lifesaving care they need within moments of arriving at our door versus spending hours of time traveling to another facility for emergency cardiac care.”

Health care is just one of many important causes the Luekens have supported over the years. Their philanthropy is fueled by gratitude for the community that supported their business, Lueken’s Village Foods, for 46 years. “When you can give back to the community who gave so much to you, there’s no greater feeling in the world,” Joe said.

To support health care at Sanford Bemidji, contact the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota at (218)-333-5515.

Posted Date: May 2014

Giving From the Heart

Long-time supporters of the Bemidji community, the Luekens were inspired to support the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota’s recent project,