The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

December 27, 2010

Hackett nominated as Pillar of the Plains finalist

ENID — Herman Hackett moved to Enid in 1971 and has since created a business that has improved the quality of life of many elderly people for 39 years.

Hackett is a finalist for 2010 Pillar of the Plains award, which is awarded every year in January by the Enid News & Eagle. He joins finalists April Danahy, Lynn Smith and Bob Dense.

Roserock Bank President Keith Schwandt, who nominated Hackett, said Hackett has shown great influence in the city through providing employment and care.

“When Herman began his business in 1971, he had 40 employees. He currently employs 200 people with an annual payroll of $4.1 million,” Schwandt said.

Hackett moved to Enid from Tecumseh, where he worked as a barber and bought and sold property.

He and a partner purchased the old Sunset Estate nursing home on 30th in 1971. They soon sold the business and Hackett purchased a 52-bed nursing home known as Greenbriar Nursing Home in 1974. He also bought a vacant building and refurbished it into Heritage House, with rooms for elderly people with residential catering. In 1992, he purchased Burgundy House.

“It feels like it’s a ministry to the community, an investment in myself and serving the community,” Hackett said.

He belongs to Lions Club, Gideons and Emmanuel Baptist Church. He was named Citizen of the Year by the Enid Chamber of Commerce in 2009.

His motto for operating his nursing homes is offer a meaningful lifestyle. He has tried to offer a better lifestyle for the residents of his facilities by providing the best possible of whatever is needed.

“It’s been good to us. It was a struggle. We’ve been blessed and Enid has been good to us, to the Hackett family,” he said. “It isn’t a business where you make a lot.”

Modern regulations have required more staffing and other necessities that has cost his business more money.

There are various levels of care, starting with the cultural change to try to give the residents as much of a home-like setting as possible.

Every room has been named after a famous Oklahoman, such as Garth Brooks or Gene Autry. Residents may bring their own furniture and decorate their room as they decorated their home, and he said the staff is there for the residents, just like their families are.

During his time in Enid, Hackett has helped organize the Northwest Oklahoma Mental Health Care Asso-ciation and the Garfield County Ombudsman program, which serves as an advocate for residents of adult care facilities.

Through the years, he has received state appointments by four governors.

He was an inspector for the Peer Review Board for 10 years and on the State Long Term Care Authority Advisory board for 12 years.

He served on the original State Board for Room and Board Homes and currently is serving his fourth term on the Board of State Health Care Providers Association. He also was appointed by former Gov. Frank Keating to the Professional Responsibility Tribunal for Oklahoma State Bar Association.

Hackett’s staff has trained other staffs from around the county on the cultural change concept. Those training sessions are free and include the training materials.

Hackett’s business now is part of his family as his daughter, Lori Long, a gerontologist, has been involved in the business for many years, and his son, Steve, manages the assisted living portion of the business and has worked there 15 years.  Brandon Hackett, Herman Hackett’s grandson, also is involved in the business.

“It’s a family business. It’s all about caring for families,” he said.

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