Remember Mr. Wilson from the popular 1990s TV show, “Home Improvement”? He was a wonderful neighbor, always there with free advice and willing to help the Taylors’ in a heartbeat. Yet, he never revealed his full face. Always mysterious.
We have several Mr. Wilsons at Altru. These wise, humble helpers rise to the occasion in a moment’s notice. Here are a few inspiring stories of real-life heroes.
Goodbye, PJs. Hello, ER.
Cara Brekke, a nurse in Altru’s Pediatric Clinic, was visiting family in Baudette, Minn. While leisurely sipping their Sunday morning coffee, the phone rang. There was a local emergency, and Cara’s mom, Sue, also a nurse, was needed at the hospital. Cara was eager to help, too.
“Your adrenaline starts pumping, and you just go,” explained Cara. “Because, that’s what you do.”
Fifteen minutes later, Cara swiftly put her medical skills to work, taking notes for doctors and nurses in LakeWood Health Center’s three-bed emergency room. Five men were badly burned in a local ice house explosion. With her experience as a first responder and six years as a LPN at that very hospital, Cara knew what to do.
Nearby was Tom Zeidlik, an Altru paramedic. In fact, he was the only trained paramedic at the accident. Tom generously donated his time and expertise, riding in the ambulance and watching over a victim until the flight team arrived. He humbly claimed he “played a small part in it.” To the patient and his family, Tom’s presence was a big gift.
In December, Jessica Aasen, RN, clinical nursing supervisor, was enjoying a vacation with her sister when a fellow plane passenger started to shake uncontrollably. The college-aged woman was having a seizure. Without hesitation, Jessica took action.
“At the time, I focused on keeping her safe from hurting herself,” explained Jessica. “She was sitting next to the window, so I tried to keep her head from hitting it. As soon as she stopped seizing, I tried to get her to tell me her name. I was nervous when she wasn’t conscious right away, and hoped she would keep breathing.” Thankfully, the young woman came through.
Jessica’s act of altruism didn’t go unnoticed. Dr. Thomas N. Bettes, American Airlines’ medical director, sent her a formal thank you on behalf of the company. The letter stated, “We are all grateful that you were on-board and freely offered your medical expertise when it was needed most. Without a doubt, you greatly improved a difficult situation.”
“I did what anyone would’ve done in that situation,” said Jessica. “It was a natural response. As far as I know, I was the only one present with a medical background, until the paramedics arrived.”
Most recently, there was a car accident on 32nd Avenue in Grand Forks. The ambulance was called, but the elderly driver did not feel she needed to be transported.
On scene was a husband and wife paramedic team from Altru, Bruce and Lorina Weymier. The duo assisted the woman until the ambulance arrived. After it left, they helped her bring her car to Rydell’s and called her insurance company. Their generosity didn’t end there. When the woman later felt ill, they brought her to the emergency room and even located a nearby friend in the clinic to sit with her.
“This kind of thing happens all the time after hours,” explained Art Culver, manager of ambulance services. “We always help. It’s in our nature.”
We’re proud to share stories of altruistic employees. The Mr. Wilsons of Altru Health System are nothing shy of heroes. Thank you for humbly helping others, both on and off the clock.
What random acts of kindness have you witnessed recently? Let us know.