LIHUE — A group of Kauai Hawaii Nurses Association members gathered Sunday at the Grove Farm Museum’s large kamani tree to celebrate the centennial of the organization with a congratulatory certificate from the state Legislature presented by Rep. Nadine Nakamura.
“This is so fitting,” said Mary Beth Terheggen who remembers caring for Mabel Wilcox following a fall. “This was Mabel Wilcox’s home until she died at 96 years old. She lived here, and these cookies, cooked in the wooden stove that still works, are from the same recipe. We had to have it here.”
Mabel Isabel Wilcox (1882-1978) was a sister of Albert Norton Wilcox and Samuel Whitney Wilcox. Wilcox Heath, Wilcox Elementary School and Wilcox Medical Center are named for this family.
Mabel Wilcox was a nurse and a commissioner of public health, and also led the restoration of the Wai‘oli and Grove Farm houses to become museums.
More recently, nurses were essential to the state’s response to Hurricane Iniki in 1992, just as they worked tirelessly following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“These nurses are our role models,” said Joan Kutzer, Kauai representative to the HNA. “These old-time nurses used to do everything.”
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. pointed out that his wife Regina, a nurse at Wilcox Health, is a product of the Kauai Community College nursing program, a testament to the island’s quality nurses.
The HNA has served for 100 years as the professional organization for nurses in Hawaii.