Sam Halverson will be leaving OMC Chatfield on Nov. 27.
Sam Halverson will be leaving OMC Chatfield on Nov. 27. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Sam Halverson addressed his wife, Karen, and said, “It’s pasture time to be living in a snowbank.”

And so, the good physician’s assistant and his wife will be getting beachy.

“This is actually a career move for my wife, Karen. She’s a very skilled wound care nurse — she’s actually nursing supervisor of the wound clinic at the Olmsted Medical Hospital in Rochester,” he explained. “A clinic in Charleston, S.C., called and wanted her to come down to work for them, to be part of their leadership and do teaching, patient care, case reviews and more.”

Halverson, who is a physician’s assistant, will be departing from the Chatfield Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) clinic to accompany his lovely other half to their new home.

He explained that while he’s leaving OMC this coming Monday, Nov. 27, it’s not retirement — the Preston native isn’t putting himself out to pasture just yet. For him, it’s the chance to make it up to Karen for uprooting her from her native Southern California, where the couple had lived for their first 34 years together.

“When we moved here from Southern California, we moved to Preston because of the bicycle trails and the fishing, but we have a big yard that has come to dominate our lives,” he said. “We have downsized our belongings a bit, and this is just a change of scenery and a new chapter in our lives. It’s definitely more of a career change for Karen – she moved here for me. She’s a Southern California beach girl, and she commuted for ten and a half years up Highway 52 through ice and snow. Now it’s her turn. Charleston seemed like a place we would enjoy, and we have a daughter who lives there. We bought a house a week ago — this job came up only two to three weeks ago, so it’s gone quickly — and we’ll be closing on it on Dec. 1. We hope to have some of our grandchildren with us for Christmas.”

The “Preston farm boy” commented that their decision to relocate to a warmer climate had been in the works for a while.

“We had talked about ‘someday,’ and that mysterious ‘someday’ came with no plans at all,” he said. “We never really had a plan…we’re both working, we have good health, but I believe that when destiny has a plan for you, you have to be smart enough to accept it, recognize it and move on it.”

He’s going to be glad to be living where there’s no snow — except at Christmastime, when it just won’t feel quite right.

“We’ve never really embraced winter…down there, we’ll be able to enjoy doing things outside. Our house is 25 miles inland so we don’t have to worry about hurricanes as much. I’m going to miss southeastern Minnesota, because there’s a lot we take for granted here, the scenery. There’s not a lot I don’t like about it, except Highway 52. But I’m looking for a job in Charleston and I might not work for December, and I know there will be new things to enjoy, relish and covet.”

The past decade has given Halverson an opportunity to get reacquainted with his own roots, and it’s also introduced him to people he will not likely forget.

“Driving down the road and seeing the crops, the cows on the hillside, I have felt that this is home. There’s a lot more crops than there used to be, and I’ve gone to the small county fairs and followed some of the 4-Hers to the state fair when they go with their projects,” Halverson said. “I don’t think that the city of Chatfield has changed too much or …that medicine has changed too much, but the government is a lot more involved. They’ve monitored how we treat a number of entities in the medical world, from asthmatics to diabetics. The government measures our success now. And I think that change within oneself is difficult to recognize. I don’t know that I’ve change a lot. I’m probably a little more tolerant than I was before, a little more patient.”

And it’s patients and friends he’s going to miss most.

“We belong to a church in Preston, an older, smaller congregation, and we’ve become very close friends with people there. I’m going to miss the Christmas service with them, but there will be others we’ll find and enjoy,” he added. “I’ll remember them, though. And my patients…I’ve received a number of really nice greeting cards from people, expressing their gratitude for doing what I do. These folks are not just my patients at OMC, but they’re friends of Sam Halverson. I take that seriously. I often reflect back on them and wonder how things worked out for them.”

He noted that he’ll miss his OMC family as well and that he might stop in if he’s back in the neighborhood. “I still have family around here. OMC has been a wonderful, wonderful organization for whom to work,” he said. “It’s an open atmosphere, transparent, friendly. That will be difficult to emulate, will be hard to find someplace else.”

Halverson concluded, “Folks here have been so gracious and so nice. It’s very gratifying. I want them to know that we certainly are not running away from anything. We’re going to something. We have cherished our time here. It’s been a good run.”