Life can be scary when facing a medical emergency, especially when the closest qualified hospital is over an hour away. For many in the plains of rural South Dakota, living with this risk is a fact of life. Fortunately, for the people living on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation and in nearby areas, peace of mind is just 15 miles down the road at the Mission Community Health Clinic.
But that wasn’t always the case for Bobbie and her family! Raised on the Rosebud Reservation, Bobbie remembers receiving treatment as a child when the Mission Clinic was just a simple, makeshift facility in a church basement. Although small in size, the clinic was overflowing with care and compassion from a big-hearted, rural nurse named Betty. “She was like a Grandma to me,” recalls Bobbie.
Encouraged by a supervising physician, Betty hesitantly opened the Mission Clinic thinking she would be bored practicing there. But it didn’t take long for the word to get out. Bobbie and many other patients began to ask for Betty by name, knowing she would provide a true listening ear and the time to answer all their questions. Even then as a little girl, Bobbie knew this special lady could be trusted. She didn’t know it at the time, but this relationship would end up changing her life!
After leaving the reservation for several years, Bobbie tossed around a few future career ideas. No matter what she pursued, she kept thinking about Betty.
I want to be like her.Bobbie
Bobbie decided it was time to go back home. She worked at first in the Mission clinic as a receptionist, but then she made the next big step. After watching Betty’s selfless care for others, Bobbie took the leap and went back to school to receive her LPN training at age 38.
Today, the Mission Clinic employs these two amazing staff members. Treating patients together, Bobbie feels right at home beside the person whose example shaped her life. Betty’s spunky spirit and heart of gold even at the age of 85 is a daily inspiration. “She has a big heart. She took care of me. Now I take care of her,” Bobbie says of working with Betty. “Serving the underprivileged is what keeps me going,” Betty voices with love. “I was taught when you start a job, you finish it.”
Care radiates from these two women on a mission. Satisfaction in helping others shows when Betty shares how she helped save a leukemia patient’s life by stubbornly making him go to the hospital.
I want to be humble, but I’ve had many people say I’ve saved their lives.Betty
The patient she encouraged is now alive and in remission because of her.
Bobbie has learned from Betty that health care isn’t just a job—it’s an opportunity to minister and reach out. Just as she was blessed so many years ago, she now encourages the young girls visiting the Mission Clinic to get an education and dream about their own possibilities. “I grew up here, I’ve been in the patient’s situation, and I wanted to help. I feel good when I go home. Betty and I are a team. Everyone here knows me, I know them. We are all like family,” Bobbie says.
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Saving lives in South Dakota isn’t possible without your help. For many people living in rural communities like you, health care can be hours away and far from reach. Your gift today helps patients continue to receive care from providers like Betty and Bobbie who give life-saving treatment and a caring hand of love.
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