Nurse nabs award before retiring with 60 years of service

After 60 years of caring for others, Carol Wheeler, RN, is taking the final sip of what’s been an incredible nursing career.

“I’m here to help somebody. I’m here to learn about people,” Carol says. But she adds, “it’s time for me to retire. This has been a great job."

The 83-year-old’s expertise and friendship will be missed by residents and teammates at Good Samaritan Society – Estes Park in Colorado.

“She helped me when my wife was having problems," resident Virgil Holtgrewe says, tearing up. "She was very sympathetic and helpful in guiding me. So, we will miss her. She cared for people and we like that."

Society administrator Julie Lee adds Carol's "compassion for people, it just shows through really well. She’s a unique person for sure.“She’s got a great sense of humor and a huge heart and is just a tremendous nurse."

Earning a DAISY Award

Tremendous and award-winning. The caregiver, who’s worked in surgery and gerontology, is being honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

“It was just a total shock. I was so surprised but so appreciative. It’s sort of a way to end a career,” Carol says.

Nominator and assisted living manager Ronnie Howell says Carol’s nursing knowledge is second to none.

“She’s a calming force. So, when things are kind of crazy she creates peace,” Ronnie says.

Retired nurse Beverly Henderson moved into the location's 24-apartment assisted living a year ago.

“It’s just fantastic. Carol and the facility,” Beverly says. “They do whimsical things for us and just general good care."

'I love the people'

Carol is passionate about the work because, she says, “I love the people. I love to talk to them. I love to hear their history. What they did. About their children. Where they lived."

It’s why she’s been in nursing for six decades.

“I think if you love your job, you continue to find things to keep you busy,” Carol says.

Now a great-grandmother, Carol plans to keep busy with family by moving to Iowa. She jokes that having a spine surgeon and a pilot for grandkids will keep her well covered. And those grandchildren married a dentist and an attorney.

“I think that is great and she deserves it,” Virgil says.

Ending a meaningful career impacting others in a positive way.

“It makes me feel like I’m going to be missed. And I know I am but there is a time you have to say, it’s time. And it’s time,” Carol says.

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