Betty Stark award established for Groves nurses

Thanks to the generosity of her family, Betty Stark’s name will continue to be synonymous with helping others at Groves Memorial Community Hospital.

On Oct. 18 about 20 members of the Boon and Landoni families officially made a $20,000 donation to the hospital foundation to establish an endowment award in Stark’s name.

“We wanted to do something to honour her,” said Peter Landoni, Stark’s brother.

“There’s no better way, we thought, than to establish an award in her name.”

The Betty C. Stark (Landoni) Nursing Award, comprised of the interest on the initial $20,000 gift, will assist Groves nurses with costs related to health care education and training, with an emphasis on palliative care.

As funds are available, the foundation will offer two awards per year, to a maximum of $500 each, to registered nurses or registered practical nurses.

“For Groves … it’s such a fantastic gift, really,” said Jayne MacKenzie, past chair of the hospital foundation. “What a great way to keep her memory alive as well.”

Stark, who died last year at age 84, was well known in the Centre Wellington community, thanks in large part to her role as head nurse of the medical floor at Groves hospital.

The oldest of seven kids, Stark was followed by five boys, before a second girl joined the family. Interestingly, both girls became nurses.

“They both had lots of practical learning, taking care of five boys, that’s for sure,” Landoni said with a laugh.

Stark graduated from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1951 and retired in 1984, having spent most of her 33-year career at Groves.

“Betty was fiercely proud of her profession and the crucial role nursing plays within critical care and palliative care,” states a hospital foundation press release about the award.

MacKenzie noted Stark was renowned for her work to not only care for patients but also to advocate for nurses.

“Nurses are there 24-7,” MacKenzie said, reiterating their importance in the health care field. “They need to bathe and change you, they need to feed you and they also administer medications [and more].”

Landoni told the Advertiser Stark’s commitment to the local hospital made Groves the ideal place to offer an award in her honour.

“It’s a special hospital – a jewel,” he said of the Fergus facility.