New administrator at Mala Strana

Mikenzi Hebel, second from left, visits with Diane Holicky, director of nursing, left, resident Alice Honza, and Honza’ granddaughter Michelle Rynda and great-grandchildren Allison and Adam Rynda. Also pictured is Holicky’s dog Buddy, who was visiting with residents that day. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

Mikenzi Hebel is the new administrator at Mala Strana Health Care Campus in New Prague.

Hebel began her duties at the facility on Monday, June 17. She oversees operations at the 90-bed nursing home and the adjoining 24-unit assisted living complex.

“I’m looking forward to becoming a part of this community,” said Hebel, who lives in Waterville with her husband Griffin and three children. They plan to move to New Prague this summer, and have enrolled their two oldest children at Falcon Ridge Elementary, located just across the street from Mala Strana.

She said her husband is an electrician in Faribault, and actually worked on the Mala Strana building during a construction project several years ago.

Hebel has been the administrator at the New Richland Care Center for the past five years. Hebel said she graduated from college with a degree in marketing and business administration and worked in pharmaceutical sales for several years.

“The money was good, but I realized my heart was in the business of caring. “This is the kind of position I want to be in, I want to be able to make a difference for our residents. There are only so many resources available, and one of the biggest struggles is controlling costs.”

Hebel said a lot of what she would like to see in a nursing home came from the experience she had during her mother’s final months of life.

“I was a senior in high school, and I sometimes felt uncomfortable going into a nursing home. I wanted to make a nursing home a welcoming place.”

She said it’s important to realize that no one wants to go into a nursing home. “The goal I have is that if someone has to go to a nursing home, we make their experience as pleasant as possible. Make the people feel at home.”

She said in her first week, she’s found the staff to be very welcoming. “Transition is hard, I’m trying to get a feel for the building, and not get lost.

“We have a great team here,” she added. “I’m looking forward to being a part of it, and to continue to make it the best it can be.”