Back on the farm
When two hospice aides learned how much Harold Nilles' former buffalo farm meant to him, they knew they had to help him make a return trip
GILMORE CITY — Harold Nilles hadn’t seen his old buffalo farm near Gilmore City in quite some time until two hospice aides, Shania Calhoun and Heidi Vote, arranged a visit for Sept. 1.
Calhoun is Nilles’ main aide and she said while caring for Nilles, she’s seen how emotional he gets when discussing the buffalo he used to raise and she wanted to arrange a trip for him to see the farm again.
Calhoun said Nilles is a man of few words but while caring for him, she learned how much he loved his buffalo.
“We bonded over talking about his buffalo as this was a way I got him to communicate with me during our visits,” she said.
Due to transportation accommodations Nilles needs to travel, Calhoun knew his family wouldn’t be able to simply pick him up from his home at St. Croix Hospice in Humboldt, so she arranged everything needed to get Nilles to the farm and accompanied him on the trip.
Nilles was born at home in 1929 north of Highview. He farmed for many years before moving to a farm west of Humboldt, near Gilmore City.
“They raised cattle until 2004 when he decided he needed a hobby and chose buffalo,” said Calhoun.
Nilles spent many years raising buffalo before his son, Gary Nilles, took over the farm. Gary Nilles shares his father’s love of the buffalo and said, “The buffalo are like my kids.”
Harold Nilles was able to see not only his buffalo but several family members as well. His son Gary Nilles, his daughter-in-law Vicki Nilles, his grandson Trent Nilles, and his great-grandson Wyatt Vance were all at the farm as well.
“It was exciting and refreshing to see dad out of the facility and back out at the farm,” Gary Nilles said.
Calhoun said it was a very emotional day for everyone.
“Harold was overwhelmed with joy from the moment we pulled into the driveway,” she said, “To share all the excitement and happy tears with him was a moment I will cherish forever.”
Even though Harold Nilles doesn’t speak much, Calhoun said she could tell he was happy and thankful.
“The hug we shared was full of emotions, from happiness to knowing just how thankful he was,” she said. “I appreciate being able to be a part of such a special time for Harold and his family.”