“This is a real cultural tragedy,” said Nate Miles about Keiro Northwest’s recent announcement that it is closing its nursing home and other facilities.
The vice president of Strategic Initiatives at Eli Lilly is a big supporter of Keiro Northwest.
He said, “Keiro has been such a large part of our community for so long and played a key role for families and friends of loved ones.”
Board of Directors Chair Tomio Moriguchi told a crowd at a May 14 town hall that he is sick over the decision to phase out several programs, including the rehab and skilled nursing facility.
“This action is necessary to allow the best possibility of building a sustainable business and ensure continued community control,” said Keiro Northwest on its website.
Moriguchi is one of the “Magnificent Seven” who founded Issei Concerns 41 years ago—Issei Concerns eventually became what is now Keiro Northwest. The other founding members were Glenn Akai, Harry Kadoshima, Sally Kazama, Henry Miyatake, Tosh Okamoto, and Fred Takayesu.
Board member Fred Kiga called the closure “a gut-wrenching event for the API community.”
The board is currently researching sustainability options for the remaining programs. The effort, led by Moriguchi, is looking to raise $5 million in the next 60 days to hire experts to determine how to best use the 1601 East Yesler property, cover operational shortfalls, and do due diligence for a potential alliance. The money raised will not save the nursing home.
On its website, Keiro Northwest said, “The Japanese American community should be so proud of what was built years ago by the Magnificent Seven and the thousands of people we have served over our 40-year history.”
Proud, yes. And grateful. Grateful for the Magnificent Seven and their legacy for serving the needs of the community for decades.
We owe Keiro a debt of gratitude.
Thank you to the community leaders who placed second mortgages on their homes decades ago, in order to build a skilled nursing facility.
Where else could Issei grow old in a familiar environment, surrounded by others from their own culture, enjoying their own customs, habits, and even their own food?
Miles said, “We used to say, ‘Keiro takes care of the patient, family, and community.’ She will be missed, but never forgotten.”
If you have any other questions about the closures, contact AskKNW@keironw.org.