Dennis Boyd interviews Janet Ford, a nurse who emigrated from Saskatchewan to Minneapolis and joined the U.S. Navy in 1971. She served in Guam for 13 months.
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Now back to answers for elders as we honor our military veterans. Careage is the proud sponsor of our veterans segment hosted by former ctle Seahawk Dennis Boyd. Hi. This is Dennis Boyd. We’re here at Patriots Landing in Dupont Washington with Janet Ford, and Janet we this is our first interview here honoring veterans and the people in their service to our country and the service to the community afterwards. Welcome. Thank you, Janet. Tell us a little bit about your story. I see here from your notes that you were born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and how did you end up here in the navy? I was actually in working in the civilian life. I finished my nurse’s training, went to work in Saskatchewan for about eight months and then emigrated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I was in Minneapolis for twelve years working in various hospitals in various capacities, and then I decided I needed more education. And where could you get more education? Well, you’ve joined the forces. So that’s where I came to join the navy. And what year was that? That was in 1971. Okay, so you were actually coming in about the tail end of the Vietnam War. Then that’s correct. Yet, well, not quite to be three years years. Yeah, after that. Yeah, I my first duty station was Bremerton, Washington. Went to officer in doc first of all out in Newport, Rhode Island, and then to Bremerton Washington, and I was in Bremerton Washington and for three and a half years before I got orders to Guam and then I was in Guam for about thirteen months. Guam’s kind of an interesting place. How long you have an island is that? I think it’s nine nine, I was going to say feet, not nine miles by twenty eight miles. I think it is something like that. At any rate. Yeah, it’s kind of small. The real culture shock when you come back to the US. I can only imagine what so tell us what that was like. So what was going on in Guam while you were there? In Guam it was we took a took care of a lot of the of the island people if they were military, but we also took care of other out outlying islands. They would come there for heavy duty care and we also experienced typhoon Pamela while I was there, and that was an experience because we went through the eye. Oh my, yeah, and it was, it was, it was horrendous. So you were part of the the medical care? Yeah, basically on Guam and the outlying islands during the typhoon. Yes, so what happened to the facilities? Why you’re there? Well, we just had to hunker down. Yeah, there was. There was no getting outside of the hospital. You know, everything was boarded up as much as you could, but the outside windows blew out with with the force of the winds the instant and there was a period of time. Oh, I would because we went through the eye. We went through one side and then the other side of the wind, you know. So it was it was interesting. Interesting, is is it my old word for yes, so that had to be interesting. And, to use your term for the I mean, how do you take care of how did you get people to, you know, get through there, people that were obviously very ill. You had some possibly just coming out of surgery, and another limits of care. Well, there wouldn’t have been much surgery going on because the electricity went out right. Yeah, but we did have a few berths. Oh, really, during, of course, because you have increased atmospheric pressure. Ah, so there was. There were more births. Well, being a guy, that’s something I probably wouldn’t know, but okay, but thank you that I know. And back then was the was the weather forecasting? Did you have much time or notice before the we had about like it was about twelve hours, twelve hours, and that was where we had to get out of out of our Bo q’s and over into the hospital and then no one was allowed to leave. And they you’ve seen in the movies where they have these very large ropes, and we had one of those very large ropes that were strung between the hospital in the back in case they had to get over there for some reason. Yeah, so, and how is the island left? I mean, was it stripped of leaves? Well, yeah, like the boonies, as we called him. I mean you could see all the corrugated buildings that were out in the boonies now, you could see them, you know, because all the leaves were stripped. MM. So from Guam, what where did you go from there? Long Beach, California, Long Beach. Yeah, and that’s where I got off of active duty for the first time and I went to school then at Cal State Long Beach, but also did the reserves and was fairly active with the reserves. So you continue your education in medicine or what were you taking? You know, I had started my education in Guam to get a bachelor’s degree. Then I finished that up in Long Beach, okay, and then I moved up to Seattle and went to the University of Washington for my masters and social work. So I have both nursing and social work. Why social work? Yeah, I felt like the nursing wasn’t getting at the the they were delving too much into the technical and not enough into the emotional side of what was going on. So with that masters and social work, where did that take you? Oh Boy, well, let’s see, I was in Washington. I decided after doing social work, mostly in the medical field, Duh. And and then I decided I wanted to find out the business side. So I sold drugs for five years. Legitimate, legitimate, legitimate, yes, yes, and I spent some time up in Alaska in Anchorage, another about fourteen months there, and then I moved down to the bay area in California, okay, and and I couldn’t get out fast enough out of the drug, drug trade, and it’s only gotten bigger than I know. Yes, yeah, but it’s a good company, the Burke Marcia. Yeah, so you’re down into the Oakland, San Francisco area that I was and we use civilian or well, I was just still doing reserves. There’s there. Yeah, but I was also recalled active duty when the Persian Gulf came or came along, okay, and that’s where I went to the Naval Hospital Oakland, okay, and spent close to year in Oakland. And at the same that and when I was finished with that, I was had been doing some private counseling, but that kind of went by the wayside. You know, when you’re on active duty you can’t really do both. So when I finished there, then I wanted a home health and worked home health for ten years as both nurse and social worker. So you kind of living here at Patriots Landing, you kind of see both sides of it. I do. You’ve been on both sides of that table. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, I see a lot of the things that are going on and I think that that they do a really a fantastic job here. Yes, you know, they have memory lane for those folks that are non compass. Mentis and they have activities to kind of keep people interested it. And I play Mexican train three nights a week. I do putting with on the over on the putting green, okay, and there are other kind of get together since where they were. They have sing song. Yeah, lots of good activities. And back up a little bit. I was told you were in Oakland at a unique time. Your earthquakes. Earthquakes. That’s right. So you tend to either change disasters or looking for it. Yeah, yeah, I have to tell you a little funny story. You know, here we have gardens and the gardens are the tubs are looked like horse drops. Well, when I was about five years old, I was out at my sister’s place on a farm and and I was cleaning the ice off the top of the of the water and I fell in and dark, darn, your drowned and that. So every time I see those horse drops out there I think of it. You get a physical reaction. Yeah. So, Janet, tell me what you’re doing now. I mean, obviously you’re here at Patriots Landing and I and obviously you’re very involved in the community. You know, just activity and so on. But I hear you have affinity to dogs. I do. I have a little care and terrier who is just such a sweet little thing. She she’s a rescue from a puppy mill and those puppy males do not treat dogs very well. So I’ve really had to re educate her and it’s taken an infinite amount of time to to just work with her and work with her. I had another dog too when I first came here, but he just he was old and he just got older and older and finally I had to have him put down last December. So that was Doogie, and that’s now I have Katie, yeah, and Katie’s been with me for four years. So you kind of get to do a little social work for both the yeah and kind as well as that. For like absolutely in any time that people want to chat or whatever, I don’t tell them I’m a social worker, I just do it. That’s amazing. So people here know that I’m a nurse. Also there. They’ll come up and they’ll say, look, you’re a nurse. What do you you know? Well, you know, it’s always nice having that second opinion, if you will, if somebody that’s been there and done that and yeah, has you’ve you got the practical side there. And sometimes, as we know, that you go through a visit with a physician or a nurse and you always here things the first time. So it’s always getting out. I heard them say this. What does that mean? Right, exactly. There are two other nurses here too that are sort of my age, my ilk. They are army nurses and we we have a good time teasing each other there. You know about their army. I’m navy. Yeah, and as one thing we do see about the branches of the service there is that there’s a good natured ripping and yes, it would be like a sport teams, if you will. Yeah, you give each other a bad time, but it’s right. A lot of respect there too. Absolutely. Okay. Well, Janet, thank you very much. I really appreciate your time today and thank you for your services. You went through an amazing period of time here in our history and you’ve seen a lot and and appreciate your tie. You’re letting US know what it’s like here at Patriots Landing. It’s it’s really awesome experience. It’s you know, I’ve only been here since last June, but and it’s still getting used to it. You know you have a substantial amount of military here also, don’t you? Yeah, I think one of the terms so series around eighty five percent of the residence here are either former associated with military. Yeah, a lot of associate because of spousals. Right, Janet, thank you again. All the best and thank you for your service. Thank you very much. This has been a special honoring veterans. Presentation of Answers for Elders brought to you by Careage. For more information about Careage, the website is CareAge.com.
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