LARK HARBOUR — About 30 years ago, Lorraine Humber graciously accepted a medical clinic rather than a Band-aid, and she worked at supplying the aids ever since.
She was recognized recently with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded for her many years of community nursing. She went above and beyond to serve the people of the Lark Harbour and York Harbour area through a 34-year career.
“It was a great honour, most definitely,” Humber said. “I worked in these communities a long time, and am now retired. It was an utter shock and surprise, and I think it is something that will always be dear to my heart.”
It was nearly three weeks ago she was surprised with the medal, something which she remains humbled by. Much like her nursing career, she said she hoped word of this recognition would remain in the community.
Humber’s career with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) began in 1977 as a casual community nurse. She started with home visits, but it was soon her own home that resembled a drop-in clinic. Called upon for all kinds of emergencies, checkups, and medical advice, she was said to never hesitate to respond.
She was instrumental in spearheading a campaign to obtain funding to build a medical clinic in Lark Harbour. She successfully lobbied both provincial and federal governments for funds to, not only build, but maintain the clinic. She considers it one of her best nursing achievements.
“A lot of the people around these communities are seniors and a lot are seasonal workers,” she said. “When I first moved here, it was a big issue for people getting in and out of Corner Brook just to have the things they needed.
“I had nothing really to work with when I came out here, other than what was given to me by home care for the actual patient I was seeing at the time.”
No money for Band-aids
Humber said her lobbying to both levels of government for medical supplies resulted in getting money for the clinic. She said former Liberal MP Brian Tobin told her she could not have money for a Band-aid, but she could have money for a clinic.
“I said we’ll take the clinic, and we’ll worry about the Band-aids after,” she said. “It went from there.”
She did what she could for those who came through the clinic doors daily. The nurse said she could never be certain what would be required of her at any given time, but the patients were sure of the quality of care they were getting.
“Lorraine's dedication, commitment, and strong sense of duty to others are for what she will always be remembered,” stated a short biography used during the medal presentation.
That clinic remained open for 26 years, only closing after her retirement in March. Humber said she was part of a bigger team that continued lobbying and fundraising to keep the clinic going that long.
Although there is home care still being provided on the south shore of the Bay of Islands, the retired nurse said it remains difficult for many residents of the area to get, or get to, the appropriate medical care required.