Every morning at 6:30, Edna Winter leaves her home in a senior citizens apartment building on Clinton Parkway and heads for Heritage Manor, 1800 W. 27th, where she feeds breakfast to a longtime patient.
A retired nurse who volunteers with Hospice Care in Douglas County, Mrs. Winter has been caring for others for 50 years since her graduation in 1941 from Symmes Arlington Hospital School of Nursing in her hometown of Arlington, Mass.
Those were the days before penicillin, she said in an interview last week, and on-the-job training was at the bedside.
A 3 -year wartime stint with the U.S. Army took her to Iran and India, where she nursed workers on the Burma Road and met her husband, a Kansan. The couple settled in Lawrence in 1949 and raised their three children here.
MRS. WINTER said that after her retirement from Lawrence Memorial Hospital 11 years ago, she spent time with her grandchildren which now number nine but found she had "to work at not being a nurse."
Able-bodied adults she sought friendships with did not welcome her solicitious ways, she recalled, and she found herself wondering "what is wrong with me?"
Finally, she said, she figured it out for herself, and became a Hospice volunteer.
"Hospice has been a blessing for me," she said, noting that volunteer nursing has made life "all right again."
Five years ago, Mrs. Winter's husband died, and she moved into Clinton Place, where she previously had nursed a Hospice patient.
Mrs. Winter nurses terminally ill people in her Hospice work.
"This Hospice is really wonderful," she said explaining that its aim is "to help terminally ill people to live their last years as pain-free and happily as possible" and to assist their families.
AS A HOSPICE volunteer, Mrs. Winter feeds the Heritage Manor resident, a person she helped take care of before the patient's nursing home placement, and tends a man who is wheelchair-bound.
"It's more or less just visiting," she said, noting that she and the patients do such things as watch television and assemble puzzles.
"Sick people you always learn from," she said.
Ron Henry, director of Hospice Care in Douglas County, said in nominating Mrs. Winter for the Award of Excellence: "She is a wonderful advocate for her patients when they need anything, especially in regard to pain control."
"Edna is known at Hospice for her tender, loving care for very sick terminally ill patients. (She) knows just how to do all the `little' things that encourage patients and make them comfortable."