MorningStar. It’s not just a lyrical name. Its roots go far deeper.
MorningStar’s story begins with an impassioned pre-history…namely, the life of Founder Ken Jaeger. Born and raised on a large multi-generational farm in the Midwest, Ken and his siblings were presented daily with lessons in economics, diligence, and honest, hard work.
After 15 years of leadership experience and keen observation within the senior living industry, Ken determined to establish his is own brand of senior living.
“It was 2003. I had a dream to start a senior housing company that was defined by the human touch— where all decisions have, at their core, our residents. I wanted to re-create my grandmother’s house, a place where one can go and feel a sense of family.”
Ken continues recounting the opening chapter of MorningStar: “I had been searching for a company name for months. I wanted something that was alive and comforting, but offered a powerful, guiding force—even more, a name that spoke to the passion I have for bringing loving care to seniors.
Then one day, while reading the Bible, that name—MorningStar—jumped out at Ken from a verse in the Bible, where Jesus said, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). In sharing his find, wife Shanna mentioned that just that day she’d seen the reference of Jesus as the Morning Star in 2 Peter (“…you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts”). Then the following day Ken read a front page article about an Indian reservation suffering under abject poverty. One of the Native American being interviewed was named MorningStar. That, for Ken, clinched it. For even at the genesis of his company, he knew he wanted its profits used, in part, to relief poverty around the world. And so we were christened.
Out of this heart of Ken’s, one so focused on the power of relationships, came three mission statements upon which MorningStar would be grounded:
• Honor God in our business practices and relationships—a commitment to strong moral values and ethics
• Value all seniors as gifted and contributing individuals—a commitment to creating a community that promotes a healthy, engaged lifestyle, while providing security and independence
• Invest generously in our team’s ability to serve well—a commitment to hiring and retaining employees who use creative minds and compassionate hearts to serve residents
In the summer of 2014, we introduced a commissioned art piece entitled Tree of Life (seen here), which celebrates our Name and our Mission. You’ll find this triptych now hanging proudly in all of our communities, together with an explanation of its greater symbolism. (Click Here)
As we grow, what will keep MorningStar true to its mission? Building the right infrastructure at the right time. Putting the right people in key roles. Staying humble.
Ken in the Home Office of MorningStar