A Lifetime Commitment to Caring for others...Lois Jean McCrea
I want to share a story with you...it is about a young woman who always knew even as a child that she wanted to be a nurse.
It was the summer of 1943 and Jean was in between her Junior and Senior year of high school and visiting Purdue for the 4H roundup: a visit that would change her life forever. The exciting part of the round-up was the big dance at the end. Jean was there with a good friend who just happened to know two guys at Purdue who were "available" and might go to the Round-Up dance with them. One of the young men was Tom McCrea. He was a freshman at Purdue and he had a bicycle! Jean remembers riding on the crossbar around campus with Tom before the big evening. Something stirred in their hearts but these were troubled times in the U.S. and soon Tom was called to serve his country and off to war he went. He said he would write and he did, lots of letters but Jean wasn't so much into writing back and besides, she was following her dream and had enrolled in the Cadet Nurses Corps. Tom found himself stationed in Europe and fought at the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The US lost over 19,000 soldiers and Tom suffered through the coldest cold he would ever know but somehow he survived and came home to the family farm. Although she wasn't much for writing, Jean had waited and they were married on June 13th 1948 and today, at 88 and 87 have been married 65 years and together for 70. Jean did fulfill her dream and became a nurse, working at Memorial and then at Pioneer as the school nurse for years. Both of their daughters also grew up to be nurses and as Jean and Tom started reflecting back on their life together, the idea of a nursing scholarship came up. We have visited several times throughout the year and as we talked, and they shared their thoughts how blessed they have been, I became acutely aware that while they consider themselves to be ordinary people, their long, lasting love and devotion to one another is extraordinary. Their love story seems to have come full circle with the establishment of the Lois Jean McCrea Nursing scholarship which will awarded for the first time in May 2014 to a Pioneer graduate in the amount of $16,000 over 4 years. I count myself among those who have been blessed by this wonderful couple and their magical love story.
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