30 years of perseverance at Luverne HR

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The old clich\u00E9, &#8220The Show Must Go On,” has never rung truer than when observing certified nursing assistant Diane Mitchell's devotion to her job and employer, Luverne Health and Rehab.

Mitchell walked to work across the city of Luverne in all seasons for thirty years, before getting her driver's license in 2006.

Mitchell, who is a widow, said she depended on her husband in the past for transportation to work during bad weather.

But, she said that is only one bend in the road she has encountered since her husband, Jackie, died in an automobile accident in March of 2003.

&#8220My whole life has changed,” she said recently.

&#8220I had never learned to drive, but I went out and bought a car!

With the help of the Lord, I finally got my driver's license in 2006.”

Mitchell said her road to work has also taken some other strange turns over the years.

She once met up with one of the nursing home residents walking up town in Luverne, when she was working the 3-11 shift, back in the seventies.

&#8220I talked him out of walking to Troy, where he said he was headed, and took him back to the nursing home with me,” she said.

&#8220That was way back before we had all the monitoring systems we have now.”

Mitchell recalls many other improvements in long term care that she has witnessed during her thirty years.

She said her pay was just a little over a dollar an hour back in the seventies, and the work was hard, but she has seen enormous changes in the nursing home industry, with modernization, pay increases and benefits, over the past three decades.

Weighing little more than a hundred pounds herself, Mitchell said she did the whirlpool baths on two halls and did the residents' weights for about ten years.

She said the facility only had three halls back in the seventies and early eighties.

One of the highlights of her career, she said, was witnessing the marriage ceremony of two residents in the facilities' old dining room.

She remembers that both were discharged home at some later date.

She also witnessed the marriage of former Administrator, Barbara (Ward) Matthews in the dining room in 2003.

She said the facility had one resident who lived to be 117 years old, according to his families' records, and she has seen several residents reach the age of 105 or 106.

She has been a caregiver to many residents, in and around Luverne over the years, and remembers fondly how gracious and appreciative their families have been to her.

Mitchell admits she's a natural born caregiver, and attributes it to being the eldest of six children, and the one always called on to help out at home.

She spends her leisure time fishing with her special friend, Bob Holland, from Mobile and with her grandchildren, Jackson, age 7, Jacob, 4, Jordan, 5, and Jessie, 3.

She is a Luverne football fan and rarely ever misses one of their games.

She said she is anxiously anticipating her oldest grandson, Jackson, starting Pee Wee football this fall, and will be on the sidelines cheering.

Mitchell, who is a restorative nursing assistant now, said with her benefits and vacation time, she feels that her job has been a wise investment.

She said she never really knew how much people cared about her until her husband's death, and her nursing home family rallied around her.

She also credits her brother Mitch with having anchored her through the tough times, and her church, Luverne Church of God.

Every Thursday night all her family gathers at her house and she prepares a home cooked meal for them.

In May of 2006, Mitchell celebrated thirty years of employment with the Luverne Health and Rehab.

Mitchell, along with other longtime Northport employees, within the region, will be honored at an awards banquet in Montgomery July 27th, where she will receive her thirty year pin and a savings bond.