CRESTVIEW — The Military Order of the Purple Heart and Northwest Florida State College are collecting information for a proposed nurses monument to be constructed at the US Air Force Armament Museum on Eglin.

The order and college are looking for one nurse to represent the Civilian Nurse of Today on the monument. The Nurses Monument Committee will select one civilian Registered Nurse, male or female, from submissions turned in by Oct. 31. The committee will announce the winner Nov. 16.

To submit your name for possible posting, send a high-resolution 8-inch by 10-inch or 4-inch by 6-inch photo of yourself in uniform from the waist up, a brief biography, and contact information to William Everett, 5727 Buck Ward Road, Baker, or email it to him at weeverett76@gmail.com.

Three nurses featured on the monument are Florence Nightingale, Lt. Annie G. Fox, and 1st Lt. Sharon Lane.

The information on each person includes their name, date of birth, date of death if deceased, and a history of their service, as listed below. 

Florence Nightingale. Born: May 12, 1820, Florence, Tuscany; died Aug. 13, 1910. Florence Nightingale was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She organized the tending to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, where she came to be known as “The Lady with the Lamp” while making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. She gave nursing a highly favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture.

In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.

Lt. Annie G. Fox. August 4, 1893 – January 20, 1987. First woman to receive the Purple Heart for combat. First Lt. Annie G. Fox, Chief Nurse, U.S. Army Nurse Corps, was on duty at Hickman Field, Oahu, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

For her “outstanding performance of duty and meritorious acts of extraordinary fidelity”... along with many other accolades, she was awarded the Purple Heart. At the time Lt. Fox received the award (Oct. 26, 1942) there was no requirement of having sustained serious injury during battle; after Fox received her Purple Heart the additional requirement of having had received wounds during enemy action was instituted. As a result, on October 6, 1944, Fox was issued a Bronze Star Medal in lieu of the Purple Heart previously awarded in 1942.

1st Lt. Sharon Lane. July 7, 1943 - June 8, 1969: First Lt. Lane was assigned to 312th Evacuation Hospital in Chu Lai. She worked five days a week, 12 hours a day caring for injured Vietnamese. Much of her off-duty time was spent taking care of the most critically injured American soldiers.

On the morning of June 8, 1969, the hospital was struck by multiple rounds of mortars and rockets by the Viet Cong. First Lt. Lane was among the dead. She was killed in action just one month before her 26th birthday. She was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with Valor (the only service woman to receive this at the time), the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Order of Vietnam Medal, and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm.

In 1973, Aultman Hospital, where Lane attended nursing school, erected a bronze statue in her honor and opened the Sharon Lane Women’s Center.

Donations

The MOPH requests monument donations at https://www.gofundme.com/monument-to-honor-american-nurses. They also seek sponsors for four bronze plaques, benches, landscaping and other necessary site preparation.

Contact Cmdr. William B. Patterson, 496-8009 or 243-3889 or phcommander811@gmail.com, for sponsorship information.