'Nurses Honor Guard of Wichita' honors nurses who have passed with special tribute
A group of retired nurses is on a mission to honor the service of nurses who have gone on before them.
“I think it is a privilege for us to do the Nightingale Tribute for a fallen nurse," Shirley Hazen, a retired nurse of 50 years said.
“This is a group of volunteer nurses that perform tributes for nurses and LPNs at their memorial service or funeral," Lesa Pierce, the chairman of the Nurses Honor Guard of Wichita shared.
The group is made up of nurses themselves and they make sure to look the part too, with a salute to historic uniforms.
"We are in the original capes of Florence Nightingale and our old original hats and our white uniforms and it's just a symbol of pride," Pierce said.
A moving tribute is held for nurses who have passed, no matter age, gender or number of years served.
“.... doesn’t matter if they did it for 6 months or 45 years," Pierce added.
What the group adds only takes a few minutes, but its impression is timeless and it features the Nightingale Tribute.
“It’s an honor. I also think it’s a privilege for us to be able to recognize the service that the nurses have done to their patients, to the community, to the profession of nursing," Hazen said.
It’s a free service that this group of retired nurses theme puts on and no-matter if you are a stranger to them or not.
“Most of those ladies on the Honor Guard.... my mom actually helped train….," Craig Lipsey said.
Craig Lipsey’s mother, a retired nurse of nearly 40 years, recently passed.
“My mom was a great woman….” Lipsey said. “She was born August 16th of 1936 and she passed September 3rd of 2022. She was 86.”
The Nurses Honor Guard of Wichita was there for her funeral.
“We are very honored that they honored my mom. It was a special group of ladies," Lipsey added.
“We are compassionate people and we care about each other because we know what we’ve been through in our career and therefore you feel like you know what they’ve been through," Pierce said. “Yes, it's hard work. Yes, you get burnt out, but it’s still a passion. You can tell when something is going on, where the helpers are, and they run towards the event and that’s what nurses are.”
In the last 6 months— since this local chapter has formed— 14 tributes have been performed.
“No matter how many years they served or who they’ve served with, they take great pride in what they’ve done and will always look back and remember that and those years of service. So I think this is a nice compliment to sending them off to Heaven," Lipsey said.
“We will do our service… the Nightingale Tribute, for any nurse, and (it) can either be at the mortuary, at their church, at graveside. We have done tributes at an individual’s rosary," Hazen said.
It’s similar to military honors. This is the local chapter of a national organization.
If you know of nurse who has recently passed and their service is upcoming, you can contact the team below:
Lesa Pierce RN
Sandy Morey RN
The group also encourages anyone who looks at obituaries to let them know if a nurse has recently passed, in case their family might need or want this group to help honor them during their service.
The group also wants to welcome all other fellow nurses, to contact them, if they would like to join this group, male or female. The fee to join is $35.