Nurses Week capped off with poem donation

Waverly resident Margaret Prinzi, left, donates the letter addressed to her grandmother from Hattie Burdick in 1939.

SAYRE — All week, Guthrie staff have been celebrating National Nurses Week by honoring the frontline healthcare workers who have had a rough couple of years due to the pandemic.

On Friday, the week was capped off with poetic words of encouragement from the past that reiterated the passion that nurses have for their patients.

Waverly resident and U.S. Army veteran Margaret Prinzi was going through her grandmother’s belongings when she discovered a letter that belonged to her — written by Hattie Burdick on Dec. 10, 1939.

The letter was a poem dedicated to the nurses at Robert Packer Hospital, which prompted Prinzi to contact Guthrie to see if they wanted it.

“I was cleaning house, so I didn’t really have a use for it,” Prinzi said. “My grandmother used to work here as a caretaker and housekeeper, but I have no idea who Hattie Burdick is.”

That mission now belongs to Guthrie archivist Henry Farley.

“Our next step is to find out who she is,” he explained. “Fortunately, we have meticulous records of everyone who has ever been at Guthrie throughout its history, and it’s all catalogued. We’ll find that connection and find out more about her life.”

A portion of the poem reads as follows:

”The Nurse

God has given to some chosen women a task that angels would prize; and as they look down upon it from heaven, they must view it with wondering eyes.

So saintly the ones he has chosen, so Christ-like the work to them given; the very same work the Christ did, when he came to this earth from his heaven.”

Guthrie RNs Mikayla Hartwell and Jennifer Orbin said the poem was the perfect way to wrap up Nurses Week.

“I can’t imagine a better way to show appreciation for nurses,” Hartwell said. “It’s very cool to see and represents what nurses do so well.”

“It’s a cool piece of history and a way to see what life was like for nurses back then,” Orbin added. “We might get kind of wrapped up in our daily lives here, but something like reminds us what people think and how much they care about the work we do. And while the job may change over the years, the passion that nurses have stays the same.”

Prinzi noted that she hoped the poem would connect more people with the history of the Valley.

“There’s really so much history here. You can just get lost in it,” she said. “More people should know about it, and I hope more people start paying attention to the older things in life.”

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