MorningStar: A name deeply rooted
MorningStar’s story begins with an impassioned pre-history…namely, the life of Ken Jaeger. Born and raised on a large multi-generational farm in the Midwest, Ken and his 11 siblings were presented daily with lessons in economics, diligence, and hard work.
After 15 years of leadership experience and thoughtful observation within the senior housing industry, Ken determined to establish his 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. I wanted to re-create my grandmother’s house, a place where one can go and feel a sense of family.”
Out of this heart of Ken’s, one that was 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
Ken continues his account of 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 to bring loving care to seniors.”
Living a Life of Greater Purpose
Then one day, while reading the Bible, that name—MorningStar—leapt 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 with wife Shanna, she mentioned that just that day she’d seen a 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”).
The following day Ken read a front page article about an Indian reservation suffering under abject poverty. One of the Native American women 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.
Love, Respect, Honesty, Fairness, Goodness, Kindness. These are the core values we aspire to and nurture at MorningStar. These are the ways by which we want to offer care and build Family for Life. This is the kind of culture we are striving to create.
While the company was founded on a Judeo-Christian tradition, we honor all faith systems and worldviews at MorningStar, among our team members and residents. Our preeminent goal is to meet a resident’s social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs, all of which contribute to creating a comfortable home and offering truly compassionate care. It is our responsibility to honor spiritual preferences as part of caring for the whole person.