Bill Thoresen was one of the first patients admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center's rehabilitation unit.

Last week he joined other "rehabilitation graduates" and the center's staff to celebrate the second anniversary of the unit."It was just like home," said Pearl Thoresen, reflecting on her husband's two-month stay. "Everyone knew you and knew your name and knew your situation."

Just then, one of the nurses who had worked with Thoresen came up and put her arms around him for a big hug. She told him how happy she was to see him again and how pleased she was that he was getting along so well.

Thoresen suffered a stroke more than two years ago that left him in a coma for almost a month. When he began his recovery, he moved from LDS Hospital to Western Rehabilitation Institute in Sandy.

The commute from Provo was difficult for Pearl Thoresen. "When we heard this open, we were thrilled." Bill Thoresen was the second patient admitted to the Provo unit.

Almost 200 former patients and their families gathered in the cafeteria at the medical center for the reunion, which included dinner and entertainment.

Roger Lewis, a stroke victim, told the gathering he was thankful for the whole team as a patient of the rehabilitation unit. He is now an outpatient, coming in daily for therapy.

"It is a healing environment," said Lewis. He praised the center for the professionalism and humor of the staff.