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Relationships come first.

 Justin Hughes is fulfilling one of his most important responsibilities, getting to know residents like Richard at Vista Prairie at Copperleaf in Willmar, MN. Richard is 92 and has been a resident for more than four years. Justin took over as the new Executive Director this summer after his predecessor, Jennie Marcus, was promoted to a regional director position for Vista Prairie Communities.

“I think the high point has been getting to know residents on a personal level, more about their background, where they’re from, where they grew up and where they raised their families,” Justin says.  “I try to build relationships to help residents feel like part of our family here, the Copperleaf family.”

As a veteran senior care executive director, Justin brings more than eight years in leadership experience at two area senior living communities. Still, he says it’s a constant learning experience.

“It started back in high school that I decided I wanted to go into some form of health care,” he says. “When I went to Concordia College in Moorhead, I knew they had a health care administration program that interested me.” But while he was in college, he also collected meaningful life lessons when he helped move a loved one into a nursing home.

“That experience provided the perspective as a family member, someone with a loved-one in a long-term care facility,” he recalls. It was the experience that sealed the commitment. “I really wanted to get involved and feel like I could make a difference. I wanted to use my drive and passion to help people and be there to support them.”

We’re fortunate that Justin is now a member of the Copperleaf family. He’s eager to meet you when you’re in the neighborhood. Copperleaf offers 55 one and two-bedroom assisted living apartments, 24 Serenity Suites, and seven care suites, dedicated to residents who need an extra level of care. 


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