Gov. Asa Hutchinson toured Hillcrest Home when he was in town Wednesday and was greeted with warmth and even an occasional “amen.”

Hillcrest Home began operation in 1953 caring for residents of Boone County. Professional staff and Mennonite volunteers work together to fulfill the Hillcrest vision, “Creating a place where the warmth of god’s love is felt, and every person matters.”

The facility underwent a major $5-million-plus renovation and addition project beginning in 2012. That project added rooms and even “households” where groups of residents share space in specially designed wings.

Hillcrest administrator Phil Yoder led Hutchinson, as well as state Sen. Scott Flippo and state Rep. Ron McNair, on the tour. Along the way there were numerous comments about the appearance and even the smell of the facility.

Along the way, Hutchinson stopped to visit with some residents who waited in hallways and thanked him for visiting them.

At the end of the tour, Hutchinson thanked all the residents and staff for greeting him.

“I’m very impressed with this facility, very impressed with the home-like atmosphere,” Hutchinson said. “It makes you feel right at home and you’ve got the fireplace that … I could just sit down by that fireplace for a while.”

“I love the history that each of you represent in your life,” the governor told residents. “I could sit here and listen to your stories and I’m sure you’ve got a lot of stories to tell.”

He also said it made him remember his own parents, who have both passed away.

“But they loved life,” he said. “They worked hard and campaigned for me in winning elections and losing elections. That’s what parents do. And they prayed for me every day.”

That was met with an “amen” from some of the rapt residents.

“My mom and dad just believed that as long as God gave us breath, we’re here for a reason,” Hutchinson said. “And it could be just simply the word of encouraging somebody else or writing a note. Those are things that they did all through their life, encouraged people, and I hope that’s been passed along a little bit.”

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