Border Battle: A Longstanding Football Tradition at New Perspective in Faribault

Resident and team member pictured in Vikings and Packers apparel

February may be home to the biggest sporting event of the year, but at New Perspective in Faribault, there’s a faceoff that a resident and team member especially look forward to.

For longer than they can recall, team member Melissa Block and resident Arlene Hein have been locked in a border battle. Melissa is a loyal Minnesota Vikings fan. Arlene is a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. The two made a friendly wager years ago, and since then, Vikings-Packers game days have never been the same.

The arrangement is pretty straightforward. If the Vikings lose, Melissa has to dress up in Green Bay Packers apparel. If the Packers lose, Arlene has to sport Vikings gear around the building. The competition really heats up during close matches.

“The nail-biting games are the best,” Arlene said.

Arlene grew up five miles south of Faribault but became a Packers fan early in life. She recalls watching every Superbowl the Packers competed in, including the championship game in 1967. Although Melissa loves her Vikings, she made a trip to Lambeau Field last summer and loved sharing the experience with Arlene.

“It was fun showing her all the pictures and telling her how I pretended to do the Lambeau Leap,” Melissa said. “Arlene was there with me in spirit.”

A Connection That Started Long Before Football

Arlene and Melissa’s friendship began when Melissa was the life engagement manager for New Perspective Faribault. The connection was instant.

“Arlene was at my side quickly,” Melissa said. “She was at every activity she could be at. When we did crafts, it was clear she was into the Packers because she was always going for green and yellow items.”

Melissa says working with people like Arlene is what makes a career in senior living so fulfilling.

“I love my people,” Melissa said. “It makes it more of a home when you have those relationships. It’s such a rewarding job and one that I become invested in, down to biting my nails the day before a Vikings-Packers matchup because I’m worried that I’ll have to wear green the next day. The residents are like my grandparents, they are my friends.”

Finding a great place to live during her golden years was important to Arlene. Although she may not support the hometown team, she feels right at home at New Perspective in Faribault.

“I get along with everyone here,” Arlene said. “I like the people who live here. I like the people who work here. It’s a good place to live.”

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Note: The rightmost photo in the header image was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.