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Heinitz ends 50-year nursing career PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

When people decide to become nurses, they makes an important decision to selflessly dedicate themselves to the care of others. Caring for one person shows love. Caring for hundreds shows the true nature of a nurse.

Gloria Heinitz has assisted with the births of multiple generations of Holyoke families and watched them grow, cared for many community members throughout their years and been nearby as some of them passed on from this life.

Now after a long, humble, compassionate and heartfelt career, she is looking to store away the scrubs, put the stethoscope aside and fully embrace her retirement after this week.

Before beginning at Melissa Memorial Hospital in September 1970, Heinitz worked one year at Mercy Hospital in Denver and part time for a few years at the nursing home in Holyoke, all culminating in an astounding 50-year nursing career.

Gloria Heinitz, pictured at right, pauses from reviewing documents in a nurses’ workroom. Also pictured, from left, are nurses Lorraine Speicher, Deanna Stryker and Janet Mitchell. Heinitz is bringing her 50-year nursing career to a close this week.  

—Enterprise photo

“I must give great credit to all the nurses I’ve worked with over the years,” Heinitz said. “They were really tolerant of me, and I was just trying to keep up with it all.”

She joyfully reminisced about some of the past and more recent antics that she and her fellow nurses have conducted, saying that her coworkers help keep the air light and cheerful, and she can’t thank them enough for their caring support.

When Heinitz started at MMH, the old hospital on Baxter Avenue was five years old, and she has witnessed the evolution of nursing come through that facility and into the current hospital campus at the southeast edge of Holyoke.

“I’ve been privileged to work with Gloria for eight years,” said MMH administrator John Ayoub. “She has touched the lives of seemingly countless people and is an incredibly excellent nurse. I have the highest respect for her as a person and a professional.”

Heinitz noted that former nurses Delia Klatka and Winona Rouze “taught me all I didn’t know,” and the first hands-on lesson she learned was “you clean up after yourself” — “and we’ve kept to that ever since.”

Over the past 50 years, Heinitz has been a staff nurse — her favorite position — worked as director of nursing on and off for 15 years and has performed innumerable duties at MMH, including work in recovery, home health, hospice, obstetrics, emergency and operating rooms, and many more capacities.

“We all did it all back then,” she said.

Had she not gone through rural health care training in Durango, Heinitz said coming to MMH would have been a shock to her after experiencing the different world of Denver hospitals. But fortunately for the Holyoke community, nothing scared her off.

She pointed out how working with several doctors now, rather than a single one like in the past, has created more of a partnership between the nurses and doctors.

“I had a lot of great medical instructors,” Heinitz stated. “We nurses are always helping them with suggestions and recommendations, and now it is more of a team approach.”

In the early days of her career, Heinitz noted that she shocked the older nurses when she innovatively began wearing pants while all the others were still wearing dresses. She playfully pointed out that “pants were sensible and made the acrobatics of nursing much easier to perform.”

At that time, emergency room departments were a “big new experience in hospitals” and “putting in IVs was unique.”

Heinitz described how the nursing field evolved rapidly after that. Starting as a Florence Nightingale bedside-type nurse striving to help patients get comfortable, the job made a big change from care to medicine and working to keep people alive.

A quote from Nightingale saying, “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse,” is one that could easily be attributed to Heinitz and many other dedicated nurses.

In fact, Heinitz has been nominated twice for the Nightingale Award, an honor given to registered nurses throughout Colorado each year, and she was a regional finalist in 2010.

Mentioning that nurses get a lot of personal feedback, she related several strong-willed stories of some of the most special patients that have impacted her life and career.

“I’ve delivered more than 400 babies, but I don’t remember who they all were,” Heinitz said, noting she very well might have even delivered this reporter when he was born. “But you always remember the deaths. Many find peace when that time comes, and I’ve found it is certainly helpful talking with the family when it happens. You absolutely never forget the young ones.”

Nurses meet and work with people in the worst and best times of their lives. When asked if having personal connections with people in the community made it more difficult to treat them, sometimes in life-threatening situations, Heinitz replied that it never bothered her because the reason they were there was what her focus was.

“If I’d known them for five minutes or 15 years, it didn’t make a difference,” Heinitz added. “Everyone gets the same care, and they remember the care they get.”

Ayoub added that Heinitz has always looked out for the best interest of all her patients, even if it’s not what they think they want.

“She knows clearly what the priorities need to be and always stands for what she knows is right,” Ayoub said.

Looking forward to retirement, Heinitz has many ideas for what will likely occupy her coming years.

“I might be working still, but it will be something completely different — a whole new phase,” she said. “And we’ve got grandkids we’re always running after.”

Heinitz and her husband Walt have three children, Teresa in Texas, Craig in Virginia and Ryan in Castle Rock with his children Isabelle, Caleb and Jorja.

She spoke excitedly about traveling and hopes of doing more bicycling in the near future, but she also noted she will feel a slight relief in getting away from all the decision-making that comes with her work, particularly in the ER.

“Between my career and my grandkids, I’ve learned you have to be ready to go by the seat of your pants,” Heinitz concluded as she headed off to her next duty. “You never know what’s going to come through the door.”

Holyoke Enterprise February 26, 2015

Community invited to meet supt. finalists PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

A designated time has been set for Friday, Feb. 27, to give community members the opportunity to meet the four finalists for the Re-1J superintendent position.

The meet and greet session is planned for 4:30-6 p.m. Friday at SunSet View Community Center, located at 725 S. Bowman Ave. in Holyoke.

Each candidate will be seated at a table with chairs in different parts of the community center. There will be a sign for each candidate with their name and current position. A color will be designated for each candidate, as well.

Community members will be encouraged to wander around, introduce themselves and visit with each candidate. A board member will be on hand at each table.

As people leave, a board member will offer a comment card for each candidate, on the color designated for them. No one is obligated to write anything, but they will have the opportunity for input if they choose. The cards will be collected in a box for the board members to use during their deliberation.

Snacks will be available, and it is intended that the format will be very informal.

Candidates will have tours of the schools and community Saturday morning, Feb. 28, followed by lunch with the board and then actual interviews in the afternoon.

Finalists for the superintendent position include Budd Buchmann, director of the Twin Peaks Charter Academy in Longmont; Dianna Chrisman, Sterling High School principal; John McCleary, superintendent of Liberty School District in Joes; and Richard Walter, superintendent of Miami-Yoder School District in Rush.

The person selected for the position will begin July 1. The superintendency opened with the resignation of Bret Miles, who has accepted the executive director position with Northeast BOCES.

Holyoke Enterprise February 26, 2015

Sheila Gift appointed to open seat on hospital board PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

Sheila Gift is the newest member of the East Phillips County Hospital District board. She will fill the vacancy left by Harlan Stern following his resignation last October.

Board members noted they had two excellent candidates, Gift and Allyn Robinson, who had expressed interest. A motion to appoint Gift was approved unanimously at a special hospital board meeting Tuesday, Feb. 17.

“It’s exciting, but I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed to start,” Gift mentioned. “There is so much going on for the board right now, and I’m walking into the situation while they are doing some big things.”

Discussing the upcoming expansion plans at Melissa Memorial Hospital, Gift reiterated that she is excited to take part in the changes that are in line for the near future.

Gift works in the child support and enforcement division of the Phillips County Human Services office, having transitioned to that job last August.

Gift and her husband Paul moved to Holyoke from Stratton, Neb., in 1998. She was a city clerk there for many years.

Upon moving to Holyoke, Gift worked as an insurance billing clerk for the MMH clinic for four or five years. She then spent one year at Computers Etc. before moving to the county clerk’s office where she was employed for 12 years prior to beginning at human services.

She also noted that she served on the Boy Scouts Merit Badge committee for several years.

“Serving on the hospital board will be my first step into doing community service work of this type,” Gift said. However, she feels she is up for whatever duties the hospital board might require of her.

The Gifts have four children. Their daughter Andrea McCallum lives in Holyoke with her husband Gary and son Blye; son Christopher lives in Williston, N.D., with his wife Shalea and children Shayanna and Nash; daughter Megan Schwarz lives in Colby, Kan., with her husband Nathan and son Vincent; and son Braden lives in Holyoke.

Holyoke Enterprise February 26, 2015

Phillips County to have promo in Colorado Life PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

A light Holyoke City Council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 17, was highlighted by the council’s approval to contribute to the payment for an advertisement in an upcoming issue of Colorado Life Magazine.

Phillips County Economic Development, Phillips County commissioners, City of Holyoke and potentially the Haxtun Chamber of Commerce will be dividing the $900 advertisement cost. PCED plans to design the ad for the magazine.

Colorado Life Magazine is a bi-monthly publication that promotes travel, tourism, events, history and more for communities around the state.

Officials report

Holyoke Police Chief Doug Bergstrom announced that applicant Joseph Marcum has been approved to be hired as a new police officer. Marcum plans to move to Holyoke this week and begin training soon. He will have a six-month probation period and a starting salary of $30,500.

Bergstrom also informed the council that the trailers with asbestos concerns at the mobile home park west of the airport are expected to be cleared up within 30 days of Tuesday’s meeting.

City Superintendent Mark Brown noted that the street crew has been filling cracks in the streets that are to be seal-coated later this year, and the wood chips that were approved at the previous meeting have been received and placed at the City Park playground.

Brown also mentioned that CHS Grainland has been conducting a feasibility study for a new industrial park.

City Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Olofson announced that the contract for the Great Outdoors Colorado grant for the Holyoke Ball Park has been signed. This finalized contract will allow work to begin on the project. Improvements include new dugouts, awnings over bleachers, extension of the existing bike path to the concession stand and a flag pole. The City has two years to complete the project.

Other business

In other business Tuesday, the council:

—witnessed Olofson administer the oath of office for newly appointed councilmember John Schneider.

—was informed that Armstrong Consultants has been planning a partial parallel taxiway for the Holyoke Airport.

—renewed the liquor license for Holyoke Golf Club and waived the local fees.

—approved a purchase request for a new CAT wheel loader from Wagner Equipment for the street department at a cost of $137,328.

—held two executive sessions for a total of 22 minutes. The first was to receive legal advice from City Attorney Al Wall, and the second was to discuss a personnel matter.

Holyoke Enterprise February 26, 2015