Benewah Community Hospital Honors Francie Walters

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It is an honor she did not seek out.

But many will tell you it is one she deserves.

Francie Walters hold a portrait of herself that was taken during the time she worked as a nurse. Mrs. Walters is beiong honored for the contributions she made at a ceremony Friday, Aug. 26. Tamarack Conference Room at Benewah Community Hospital will be renamed in her honor.

Francie Walters hold a portrait of herself that was taken during the time she worked as a nurse. Mrs. Walters is beiong honored for the contributions she made at a ceremony Friday, Aug. 26. Tamarack Conference Room at Benewah Community Hospital will be renamed in her honor.

The Tamarack Conference Room at Benewah Community Hospital will be dedicated and renamed for longtime nurse Frances “Francie” Walters. The event is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at the conference room.

The ceremony will include a short program and an open house format, allowing the community to gather and visit. Refreshments will be served. Ron Hodge and Dr. Rick Thurston, who have both worked with Mrs. Walters, will speak at the dedication.

The committee that installed the Walk Through History Exhibit had the idea to honor Mrs. Walters for the contributions she’s made to the local clinic and hospital, Robin Renaldo said.

Mrs. Walters said she was quite surprised when she learned about the event.

“I was very surprised and humbled by it,” she said. “It is a great honor. I appreciate the honor.”

By the time she was five years old, Mrs. Walters knew she wanted to be a nurse. After graduating from St. Maries High School in 1950, Mrs. Walters worked as an aide at the old Milwaukee Hospital and then as a teller at E.G. Yenor’s bank.

In 1954, Mrs. Walters went to study nursing at Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane. She worked at Sacred Heart after she graduated, returning to Fernwood in 1960 after she married.

During her years as a wife and mother, Mrs. Walters worked at Fernwood’s monthly well-child clinics and served as UpRiver’s community nurse, though it was not a recognized position.

She eventually went on to work at St. Maries Family Medicine – retiring in 1998 after 25 years with the practice. During that time, she continued to serve as a nurse to the residents of Fernwood and Santa.

“I found the work very fulfilling,” Mrs. Walters said. “I met a lot of wonderful people, especially those I worked with. The work is a joy and a privilege.”

Dr. Thurston said he had the pleasure of having Mrs. Walters as his nurse for the six years he worked in the clinic.

“Francie has been a lifelong giver of herself to her community; both in St. Maries and in Fernwood,” Dr. Thurston said. “She truly cared for people. She had that heart that I think is missing in our world today. She had a caring spirit and it carried through in her actions and deeds.”

He said the recognition is well deserved.

“I think it’s important to recognize people who have been Good Samaritans and given themselves to the community. Someone the rest of us can admire and look up to and strive for that in our own lives,” he said.

Dr. Thurston said he was there when Mrs. Walters learned of the honor.

“She said, ‘Well, there’s people out there who have given more than I have,’” he said. “Her humbleness is always a quality that is admirable.”

Judy Bailey, who has known and worked with Mrs. Walters, brought the idea forward to name the conference room after Mrs. Walters.

“I felt it was time that we honored her,” Mrs. Bailey said. “I want her to realize how important she is and has been to this community.”

Mrs. Bailey said Mrs. Walters was also instrumental in getting the BetterCARE Foundation off the ground.

“Without her, the organization wouldn’t have taken off like it did. She was always the first to volunteer her ideas as well as the leg work. She did so much for the hospital and this dedication is a way for the hospital and the clinic to say thank you for all that she has done,” Mrs. Bailey said.

Mrs. Bailey added Mrs. Walters is very genuine person and well deserving of the honor.

“The thing that comes to mind when I think of Francie is whenever you talk to her face to face or on the phone she never fails to sign off with God bless you and she truly means it,” she said.

Mrs. Walters requests no gifts.

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