One life forever changed

veteran Joe HHOne small delay may have changed Joe Darcey’s life—forever. Joe was drafted by the United States Army in 1943. But on his way to begin training, he was delayed by the flu.

His original training group was involved in a major battle, but he missed it by a week. So, he served in the field artillery general duty section of the Army. In this training, he learned how to prepare for war and how to operate the U.S. defense system. He served in the areas around the Philippines.

“It was seen as a positive to be in the military,” Joe explained, “You were able to travel the world. At that time, people liked the specialties, such as flying planes.”

Joe served in the Army during the last two years of World War II. The war ended in 1945 and soon the soldiers began to return home. Joe, along with his brothers Tom and John who had also been serving in the military, returned home close to the same time. Once home, Joe helped a local business that rented cows to local farmers. This system allowed farmers to gain access to cattle at an affordable rate.

Today, Joe has found a home at Heritage Homes and is only one of 80 veterans currently residing in a TLHA care community. In our 120th year of caring for souls, we are honoring both our veteran residents and team members. Our history begins with one family’s loss during the Civil War. A 15-year-old Ernst Boessling from Belle Plaine volunteered to serve with the Minnesota troops. He died in September of 1863 in service to his country at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

His mother, Sophie, had saved the government death benefits she received all the years after Ernst died. Wanting to provide a home for others like herself, she donated the money and her family’s farmland to build das Alten und Waisenheim—the Aged and Orphans’ Home. Now more than a century later, Sophie’s gift continues to benefit countless lives.

TLHA has active senior living, assisted living and memory care communities in Belle Plaine Minnesota, and River Falls, Fountain City, and Watertown, Wisconsin. Looking for a place to call home? Visit