In the early 1920s, the Rev. August “Dad” Hoeger worked as a parish pastor in North Dakota. When a fellow minister’s plea for donations to help a young boy with polio exceeded its goal by $2,000, the Rev. Hoeger suggested the extra money be used to help other individuals with disabilities. To that end, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society was incorporated under the laws of the state of North Dakota on September 29, 1922, as a religious, charitable, not-for-profit corporation.
The first Good Samaritan Society center opened in a rented six-room house in Arthur, N.D., in March 1923. Though it began primarily as a center for people with physical and mental disabilities, the Society soon expanded the scope of services it offered. Shortly after the home opened, an elderly man on crutches came to Dad Hoeger and asked to be admitted. It was later discovered that he did not need crutches, but had pretended to need them so he could secure a place to stay. This incident demonstrated to the Rev. Hoeger and others a need for services for the elderly, as well as for those with disabilities.