WILMINGTON — For many years, as part of the Memorial Day program at Sugar Grove Cemetery, Wilmington Veterans Post 49, American Legion has had a wreath placed on the grave of a particular nurse by the Auxiliary Unit Presidents of the Legion and VFW Post 6710, or their representative.
This tradition was altered a bit last year and continued with the 2021 program, with plans to make it a permanent part of the event.
The Veterans Charitable Organization known as the Forty & Eight (40 & 8) has long had a program committed to providing financial assistance to aspiring nurses. Nationally, the invitation-only, group of dedicated veterans has awarded 52,186 nursing students a total of $34.4 million in scholarships.
Locally, Clinton County Voiture 992 has been an active participant in the Nurses Training Scholarship program since they were chartered in 1984.
In 2020 members of the local Voiture approached the Memorial Day Committee with a request to participate in the wreath laying ceremony by having the wreath placed on the Nurse’s Grave by a local nurse.
This year, the nurse placing the wreath at the headstone of Civil War Nurse Mary Taylor Adams (Feb. 15, 1838 – Feb. 16, 1927) was a 24 year member of Wilmington Veterans Auxiliary Unit 49, LPN Katie Anderson, the Assisted Living Coordinator and Infection Preventionist at Ohio Living Cape May.
Keeping with tradition, Ms. Anderson was escorted to the gravesite by VFW Unit 6710 President Tracy Hopkins and Past Unit 49 President Cindy Butler.
Clinton County Voiture 992 presents at least one $2,000 Jeanette Payne Memorial Nurses Training Scholarship each year. This scholarship is supported by Voiture fundraising events and private donations.
Anyone wishing to contribute should make checks payable to the aforementioned scholarship fund and can either drop them off at American Legion Post 49, 140 E Locust St. Attn: Bob Rich, V-992 Director Nurses Training; or mail them to Jack Rose, 267 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington OH 45177.
Jeanette Payne was in the Army Nurses Corps during World War II and was Nursing Instructor for Clinton Memorial Hospital from 1972 until her retirement in 1985.