Fran Eide’s Servant Heart

On The Road

“Everybody always says, ‘You know, small towns are unique.’ And, Burke’s just one of a kind. I will tell you, when we did fund raising for this new addition, it was $6 million. In a matter of under a year’s time, the community, community raised $1.4 million. And I remind you, we’re a town of 600 people,” said Mistie Sachtjen. “Burke is known for coming together and just making things happen. If we want something, it’s gonna happen.”

Renee Sutton is a prior administrator of the hospital and is currently a pharmacist at Burke Community Pharmacy. She overwhelmed Taylor and I with her love of the spirit of Burke, the hospital, and yes, Fran. “The human spirit is amazing to me. The things that can be done when people dig deep and love what they’re doing. And, and want to give back. And that, just to me, embodies Fran. That’s what she’s all about,” said Renee Sutton.

Renee first met Fran at the clinic in 1984 when she was expecting her first baby. She remembers it like yesterday. “We went back to the room and Fran puts her hand under my mouth and I’m like, ‘What Fran? Spit your gum out.’,” said Renee Sutton. “Everybody’s dream of a nurse because she knows what to tell you and how to help you through a process and gave you answers. She endeared herself to me. I spit my gum out and went on and….” “And had a baby,” said Mike Huether. “Yeah,” said Renee Sutton.
Fran has cared for just about everybody in town and from the surrounding area over those 60 years, no matter the critical care required. “She’s always gonna be the one that steps up, does whatever needs to be done. She’s gonna take that extra step in caring for the patient. It’s what makes the care here so unique,” said Mistie Sachtjen.

“What are some of those challenging things that have challenged you over the 60 years?,” said Mike Huether. “Probably serious accidents to young people, strokes and heart attacks to people that you’ve known forever,” said Fran Eide. “Death. The acceptance, you have to have of that,” said Fran Eide.

Fran told me her toughest patient has been her loving and supportive husband of 62 years, Oakley. “He’s probably been my worst patient. He’s had practically every bone in his body broken and he’s had a head injury. He’s punctured his lungs twice. So, he’s kept the Burke Hospital going,” said Fran Eide. “As has you,” said Mike Huether. “Me, too,” said Fran Eide.

“How do you stay so healthy? What are you doing? Where does that energy come from?” asked Mike Huether. “I shouldn’t tell you that I had a heart attack in December, should I?” said Fran Eide. “So, you had a heart attack in December, and you’re right back on the front line here in June?” asked Mike Huether. “Oh,yeah, have to be,” said Fran Eide. “I just come when they call me now.” 

My goodness, Fran is certainly busy. I had to squeeze in this interview with her because Fran had her granddaughter’s wedding in her back yard to get ready for.
“She has other things outside of the hospital. So, they have a hunting lodge. She has her husband that she cares for. And you know, she has, she still has children and grandkids, so,” said Mistie Sachtjen. “Church,” said Mike Huether. “Church,” said Mistie Sachtjen. “Community,” said Mike Huether. “Gardening. I mean, she’s all over the place,” said Mistie Sachtjen. “This club. That club,” said Mike Huether.”Yeah. She does it all. Truly amazing,” said Mistie Sachtjen.

So, will Fran ever slow down to the point when she retires from the nursing profession? “I guess I’ll let them, until our director says I can’t do it anymore,” said Fran Eide. “So that could be a long time,” said Mike Huether. “I don’t know. I love helping them,” said Fran Eide.

No way Fran. No way. CEO Mistie told me you get to make that call. “Fran has earned the respect in, it’s gonna be her call. I mean, over 60 some years, she’s deserves, she deserves that,” said Mistie Sachtjen.

Fran’s servant heart will lead the way. As it has always done. “She loves people. I’m sure and she loves serving. And a servant’s heart, probably is the greatest thing. It probably makes, it’s probably what small towns are all about.” “Lot of people with servant hearts. Can do. What do I need to do?” said Renee Sutton. “And that’s Fran,” said Mike Huether. “Yeah,” said Renee Sutton.There wouldn’t be anything she would do for anybody. I promise,” Renee Sutton

Fran relayed some great memories of her time way back in nurses training such as: You could not have a car, couldn’t wear shorts playing tennis, you had to be in by 10:30 each night, and were allowed only one overnight per month, And she said, “and for goodness sake, don’t kiss a boy near the hospital as a patient may see you.”  Fran, we are so proud of you and all of the folks that care for us in our time of need.  Bless you all.

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