U.S. Marine and former employee keeps in touch with residents at GreenFields of Geneva

  • U.S. Marine Mason Hoeksema, a Geneva High graduate, returns for a visit to GreenFields of Geneva, where he worked as a dining server.

    U.S. Marine Mason Hoeksema, a Geneva High graduate, returns for a visit to GreenFields of Geneva, where he worked as a dining server. Courtesy of GreenFields of Geneva

Submitted by GreenFields of Geneva
Updated 1/22/2021 11:59 PM

He spent what was precious time on his first visit home, reconnecting with people who have been important in his life. Mason Hoeksema, a resident of Geneva, joined the Marines after graduation from Geneva High School last spring and has been away from home since, completing boot camp and Marine combat training.

Mason recently returned for his first visit back, in time for the holidays. During his short stay, he visited GreenFields of Geneva senior living community.


During high school, Mason worked as a dining server at GreenFields. While there, he connected with the residents in a way that outlasted his employment. Over the past eight months, Mason has maintained a pen pal relationship with the residents. Mason, in return, has handwritten back to all of his friends.

A group of his pen pal friends eagerly greeted Mason, who came to GreenFields in his dress uniform. They waved flags and applauded his service. Mason spoke to them briefly,

Anne Hoeksema, Mason's mother, said that spending time with the residents was important to Mason. "He was so proud of the relationships he made at GFG," she said. "He was very proud to work there and excited to go back and thank them for supporting and writing to him."

Mason commented, "Every one of the residents here is like family." He added that every letter he has received has encouraged him and helped "to push forward" during what was a challenging time.

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"Mason's visit meant the world to our residents. When he worked at GreenFields, he had developed a special bond with our residents. Writing the letters of encouragement and support while he was away at boot camp gave the residents a way to keep the relationship alive. When Mason came back to visit the GreenFields, as a United States Marine, it really was a full-circle moment," said Karen Tomko, life enrichment manager at GreenFields.

GreenFields of Geneva

GreenFields is an exceptional Life Plan Community offering a wonderful retirement lifestyle in an ideal location. GreenFields offers independent living, assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing care with the most comprehensive plan available for long-term care if ever needed. For additional information, visit www.GreenFieldsGeneva.org.

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