For 22 years, Marge and Tom Ruhberg lived in a peaceful gated community 100 miles west of Chicago. Surrounded by a lake, golf course and ski hill, it was the spot to be for the insurance and retail retirees.
“It was a wonderful place to live,” Marge said. “It was out in the country with cornfields around us.”
When it was time to move closer to their Minnesota family seven years ago, Marge said the process was easy. They moved everything in one weekend to Zen Chaska apartments on East First Street.
Recently it became obvious the two — Tom, 91, and Marge, 89 — would need to move again. Their four children wanted to ensure the two were taken care of, especially considering Tom’s health issues.
The family knew of friends moving to Carver Ridge Senior Living, so the couple toured it and decided to move there sometime mid-April. But with rumblings of a governor-ruled shelter-in-place order, the Ruhbergs knew they had to act quickly. Their planned April 17 date was too far away.
Carver Ridge urged the two to move in right away, and they did — just three days later.
Like their Illinois-to-Minnesota move, it was pretty painless. But this time, they had a small army to thank.
FLAGS AND HONOR
Scott Bradley first met Tom, a World War II veteran, maybe three years ago at an annual car show put on by Flags and Honor of Minnesota in City Square Park. The organization, of which Bradley is the president, is a relief organization for veterans and their families.
Flags and Honor recognized Tom that year for his service, and they’ve been friends ever since. When Bradley heard of the couple’s upcoming move, he offered to help.
“Marge was all shook up with this COVID-19,” Bradley said. “She said, ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do. We have to move next week.’ I said, ‘It’s no problem. We just have to get our group together a little sooner.”
Half a dozen Flags and Honor members responded to Bradley’s call for help, and the moving crew was assembled.
FROM HERE TO THERE
The day Tom and Marge needed to move, Bradley was working in Madison, Wisconsin. But that didn’t stop his helping hand from reaching the two.
He phoned friend Pat Schindler, owner of Paddy O’ Furniture in Eden Prairie. He asked if Schindler, who also knew the Ruhbergs, would be so kind as to make use of his furniture truck for the move.
“I just happened to have a truck available and I didn’t have any work to do that day,” Schindler said.
The crew met at Zen Chaska, careful to keep their distance in light of the virus. They loaded the truck and drove their things to Carver. After arriving, helpers had their temperatures taken and were given masks before bringing the Ruhberg’s belongings up to the new room.
“I didn't have too much of a problem. I wasn't too overworked, but I think they were,” Marge said with a laugh. “I just think that this is wonderful, the things they did for us, and they made our move much easier.”
But the right-hand men remained humble.
“I just help when I can,” Schindler said, even asking that Bradley get the credit. “It's all Scott. He goes out of his way to help people. I was just glad to be able to help in a small way but, again, Scotty and his charity is amazing.”
To Bradley, helping the Ruhbergs just made sense.
“That's what Flags of Honor Minnesota does. We help veterans and their families,” he said. “That’s what we try to do: Thank them and help them.”
As Marge reached for Bradley’s phone number in her purse, she said it’s a difficult time for everyone, but they’re settling into life at Carver Ridge.
The two go for walks in the hallway or watch television in the community room if able. Staff kindly deliver art activities and things to do, she said, adding to the list of people who’ve helped them out in recent weeks.
“I just want to give thanks to Scott for re-moving us,” Marge said. “We’re very grateful for all the help he's given us.”