Laurel Rainer retiring after 45 years

Foot massager for seniors

 From 9 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Friday of every month, something special happens at the Forest Lake Senior Center.

Folks come to soak their feet, get their toenails trimmed, and stay for a foot massage by nursing assistant Laurel Rainer.


Then an amazing thing happens. Rainer, who is 85, jumps up from her spot on the floor and moves to the next client. She sits on the floor for each massage, declining the pillows and stools that have been purchased on her behalf.

And that’s not all: She often leaves the foot care clinic to head for an exercise class, and has been known to bring her husband along for belly dancing.

According to her supervisor Carla Norelius, Rainer has been the heart of the Fairview Lakes foot care clinics at Columbus, North Branch and Forest Lake senior centers for years.

In addition to giving a foot massage, she coordinates the upcoming appointments and then works alongside the nurse who trims toenails.

“She is the epitome of customer service, always treating clients with the utmost respect and loving care,” said Norelius, who is the Fairview Lakes community health outreach manager.

Rainer, who lives in Forest Lake, started working at District Memorial Hospital in Forest Lake in 1968. She worked as a nursing assistant in all departments, and was especially fond of the obstetrics department.

After the hospital merger in 1998, Rainer came to work for Fairview Lakes HomeCaring & Hospice.

With her husband Larry, Laurel raised seven children. She now has 20 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Larry passed away in 2007.

Laurel met her current husband, Roger, at the grief support group offered through Fairview Lakes in North Branch, and they were married in 2011. They enjoy winters traveling to Florida in their travel trailer.

September 27 is the last chance for a Laurel Rainer foot massage at the Forest Lake Senior Center. She is retiring from her foot care work in October.