How a Life Insurance Policy Leaves a Legacy: Lois and Dale Solheim’s Story

“I have had an experience that no one would want to go through—but it led me to being inspired to give back to the organization that saved my life.”

These words are full of heartfelt emotion as former patient Lois Solheim describes what became the root of the planned gift she and her husband, Dale, established for the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Foundation in Detroit Lakes.

In 1981, Lois was the driver in a car crash that killed one of her best friends. The accident left her in critical condition and fighting for her life after being rushed by ambulance to Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes.

Lois spent 10 days in the ICU in Detroit Lakes prior to being moved to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. There, she spent another week before beginning rehabilitation. During the next two months, Lois was unable to work and healed slowly, day by day, in her Detroit Lakes home. She credits Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes for not only keeping her alive—but also for providing top-level care.

“They did all the correct things,” Lois says, “and right there, I knew the importance of maintaining quality healthcare in our community.”

Lois talks about how the true ‘local feeling’ of Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes shows how, “as a community, we care for each other—and that whether we are patients or not, we should see the bigger picture of how a hospital improves quality of life for everyone.”

When Lois had her car accident, she was a teacher in the Detroit Lakes school system. She and Dale were in their early 40’s and not in a financial position to begin giving at a high donor level. Instead, they researched ways to engage in giving that would fit their life and financial situation.

They learned that leaving a life insurance policy to the hospital was one way to secure funds and know the value of their gift. “We chose to leave a $100,000 life insurance policy to Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes,” Lois explains, “and we are happy to know that this amount of money will be given when we’re gone. We know exactly what we’re leaving.”

Lois wants to encourage everyone in the community to give to the hospital and the Foundation. She also stresses that younger people should know that there are ways to give, even if they are not yet financially wealthy. “Consider a life insurance policy when you’re young,” Lois says. “You’ll get the best rates and be able to choose a sizable benefit.”

The Solheims have chosen to donate directly to Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes and keep their giving right in their own community, since they believe that Detroit Lakes is a special place known for contributing to its local causes, as well as supporting the town and its people.

“I cannot say it enough how much we need this hospital,” Lois remarks. “In a small town, we have to work on not only having a well-equipped facility, but also attracting the doctors and nurses to come here. We can do this by giving and continually supporting this important piece of the community.”

For more information or to discuss how to leave your own legacy to the Essentia Health Foundation, please contact:
Grant Hauschild, Executive Director of Essentia Health Foundation-East, at [email protected] or (218) 786-5049
Sue Omdalen, Executive Director of Essentia Health Foundation-West, at [email protected] or (701) 364-7784.

How to Make an Online Donation

Visit our Give a Gift page and select from our list of Essentia Health campaigns and local foundations.

More Opportunities to Give

Learn about other organizations that support care at Essentia Health:


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