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Dedicated to the profession
By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON — Wellington Care Center recently celebrated two nurses who have dedicated their lives to the profession.
LaNita Day has worked 33 years in nursing and Fraya Hammons has 56 years, and they both continue to serve the facility residents.
“Their loyalty and commitment are greatly appreciated,” said Amy Dickerson, administrator. “These two women are dedicated and a true inspiration to other nurses and staff.”
Both registered nurses (RN), the ladies serve as the weekend charge nurse every other weekend.
Day says she always knew she wanted to be a nurse. After she and her late husband, Vernon Day, raised their four boys, she made her dream come true. She graduated in December 1986 from Amarillo College.
“I worked as a nurse’s aide at Collingsworth General Hospital (CGH) from 1984 until I could take my state finals and get my RN in 1986,” she said. “Then I worked there as a charge nurse.”
In addition to CGH, Day served at Northwest Texas Hospital Medical Intensive Care in Amarillo, at Vernon State Hospital, at WCC as director of nurses and at both Memphis and McLean nursing home facilities briefly as interim director of nurses.
In 2001, she retired as director of nurses at WCC but continues her weekend duties.
Three of Day’s four sons served in the military, and her husband gained the rank of Command Sgt. Major in the National Guard. She served as well in the Army Reserve Medical Corp. at summer camps and required schools two weeks at a time.
“I did get my commission to captain, but it was after I was in the inactive reserve,” she said. “It was a great experience for me and made me appreciate how hard it must have been for my husband Vernon being away from the family all those times over the years.”
One of her most memorable nursing moments was “the one baby I delivered all on my own,” said Day. “The doctor and delivery nurse were upstairs prepping the delivery room when that young man decided he’d waited long enough. I became the delivery team.”
Mainly God, her family, work, her home and her friends take up any extra time. She is a member of First Christian Church and Wellington Lions Club and serves as a volunteer for home delivered meals.
Day is extremely proud of the fact that all four of her sons made Eagle Scout as her husband Vernon served many years as a scoutmaster. They moved to Wellington from Borger in October 1978.
Ironically, both weekend RNs are graduates of Borger High School, Day in 1959 and Hammons, who graduated with Day’s younger brother, in 1961, but they didn’t know each other at the time.
Hammons earned her nursing degree at Northwest Texas School of Nursing in Amarillo in 1964 and met her husband, the late Larry Hammons, as his “angel in white (nurse).”
In 1975, the Hammons moved to Wellington to help with the family farm and be close to his parents. Hammons worked as charge nurse at CGH and director of nursing for approximately 25 years. She worked at Childress Regional Medical Center many years and as Wellington school nurse for 13 years. She completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing during that time at West Texas State University.
Hammons also served through the years as a nurse for the Texas Department of Health (TDH), at CGH and the Vernon State Hospital. In 2002, she went back to work for TDH at Clarendon retiring in 2005. Since that that time, Hammons has alternated weekends with Day at WCC.
“I really liked being a school nurse, public health nurse and working at the state mental hospital,” Hammons said. “I also like working in long-term care since I have worked here 19 years. Nursing is an extremely rewarding profession, and I have never regretted being a nurse.”
Hammons has made an impact on her family since her daughter Leslie is a RN in Lubbock and her daughter-in-law Vicki is a Nurse Practitioner in Tulsa. Two of her granddaughters also are headed down the medical path as Kelsea begins RN school and Halle is majoring in Pre-Med.
Also, her son Lanny keeps his radiology technician certificate from AC current as a back-up profession, although he chooses to be a pilot.
Active in the community, Hammons serves as a member of First Baptist Church and Wellington Lions Club. She and Day partner up to deliver meals on wheels.
Getting to go see her grandchildren, reading, playing dominos and “slowly” learning to play bridge keep Hammons busy.
“I enjoy going to the Ritz to see concerts and movies with my best friends, Anne Langford and Nita Day,” she said. “Also, I help my family run our cattle ranch located 25 miles east of Wellington.”
Both content in their purpose as weekend RNs, neither Day nor Hammons has plans to give up their retirement position.