New director offers a helping hand

After an extensive search, Laurie Wickstrom of Hettinger has been hired as the new director of Dakota Plains Helping Hands.

Posted Dec. 13, 2012

Laurie Wickstrom learns the computer system from Deb Molbert. Laurie is the new director of Dakota Prairie Helping Hands. Deb is leaving after more than eight years with the organization.

To make life easier for those in need, by providing confidential, compassionate care with respect and dignity.

– Mission Statement –



Adams County Record Editor

After an extensive search, Laurie Wickstrom of Hettinger has been hired as the new director of Dakota Plains Helping Hands.

“For me it’s a way to help people, help them stay in their own homes longer, meet new people and it is a faith based organization,” said Laurie about why she decided to apply for the job.

Deb Molbert, director for more than eight years, has decided to step down from the position, but will remain as a volunteer.

“My husband is working in Dickinson, and we want to spend more time together and less driving,” said Molbert. Hospice requires someone must be diagnosed with six months or less to life, and could only provide end-of-life services, couldn’t loan equipment unless the patient was terminal, and patients had to go to hospice, it couldn’t come to them.

“Many of the clients are senior citizens without nearby family that just need a little help,” she said.

While not hospice, the organization still offers end-of-life services, such as bereavement counseling, support for families and the like.

One particular patient sticks out in Deb’s memories.

“There was a woman at the nursing home whose family was far away, and I got to where I would visit her every day or every other day, then email her daughter and tell her how her mother was doing,” she recalled. When the mother was dying, Deb was with her, and able to hold up the phone so they could say good-bye.

“It’s a very personal time these families allow you into their lives,” she said. She said she believes no one is alone, and has seen some unbelievable things over the years.

Based in Hettinger, DPHH covers Rhame to Bison, and everywhere in between, including Bowman, Hettinger, Reeder and Lemmon. No longer a hospice service, they do offer items and ways to make things easier and more comfortable for those who need it.

The most important thing they offer is people, said Laurie. Volunteers who take the time to run errands, take people to doctor appointments and provide services for caregivers such as respite care.

“It is very important that those taking care of others take care of themselves, without feeling guilty, while still knowing their loved one is safe. Respite care offers the caregiver a very important break to take this time for them,” she said.

Volunteers do a variety of thing in each area, Wickstrom said. “It seems in Bowman we do a lot of respite and visitation, grief support in Lemmon and transportation in Hettinger. It just depends on what each individual’s needs are.”

Other services offered include bereavement support for the family and visitation to keep in human contact with those who can’t get out much anymore or are confined to their home.

“Although I am a pastor’s wife, I would never push my faith on others,” she said. “But I am available should someone need spiritual support.” She was also a nurse for 28 years in Bowman.

DPHH is not only for the terminally ill – the same services are offered if someone is recovering for an accident, illness or surgery and may only need some help for a little while.

“We are always in need of more volunteers,” said Wickstrom. “Currently there are about 10 active volunteers in the three main towns.”

Anyone can volunteer and do whatever they feel comfortable with. And it runs both ways – many of the volunteers are retired, and this is a way for them to stay involved in their communities as well as help others.

Wickstrom is married to Pastor Allen Wickstrom of the Assembly of God Church, and they have four children Lindsey (Benji) Schaff) who live in Bowman with the two grandchildren, Kayla (Matt) Dangel of Williston, Paul who lives in Bowman and Jessica, a junior at NDSU.

Deb will step down officially the first of the year.

“I hope the people support Laurie and treat her as well as they have treated me,” said Deb.

Any advice?

“Follow your heart and do what you think is right,” said Deb. “Things will always work out, even when you don’t think they will.”


How to help

DPHH is governed by a nine-member board, and is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, funded by donations and its annual radio-thon. All donations are tax deductible, and there are no charges for their services. To volunteer, or if you have need DPHH services, contact Wickstrom at 507 2nd Ave. S. in Hettinger or call 701-567-4975. The office is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.