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Community briefs: Fort Harrison nurses honored; Blossom advances in Toastmasters; Crittenton expands programs; student news

Community briefs: Fort Harrison nurses honored; Blossom advances in Toastmasters; Crittenton expands programs; student news

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Two Fort Harrison nurses recognized

The Montana VA Health Care System honored two nurses, who are assigned to the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center, with recent Daisy Award recognition.

The Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses recognizes individual nurses and clinical teams throughout the year for their extraordinary, compassionate care. More than 4,500 health care facilities and nursing schools across the United States as well as 27 other countries participate in every year.

The two nurses being honored are:

Elizabeth “Liz” Estes, a Registered Nurse at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center, received the nomination for her attentive care of a patient going into an operating room. During the patient’s visit, Liz was one of the RNs taking care of surgical preparation. She patiently and methodically went over all the processes with the patient and explained every step, even covering what was currently happening, what to expect and why each step was important. Her calm and attentive presence to the patient’s needs set them at ease. Additionally, on subsequent visits after the surgery, Liz took the time to discuss the patient’s progress to ensure they were healing, getting the care they need and making the patient feel that she truly cares. Liz was nominated by the patient she cared for.

Susan Geubtner, a Registered Nurse and the Associate Chief Nurse for Outpatient Services at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center, received the Daisy nomination by filling in for another nurse at a different location during an emergency. While her primary role is a nurse leader at Montana VA, when an outlying clinic was short-staffed due to a nurse’s family emergency, Susan drove more than 75 miles to fill in. Arriving early before the clinic opened, she spent all day providing personal, high-quality care to veterans during a busy clinic day. Her hands-on experience and professionalism gave both Veterans and clinic staff a sense of ease. After the clinic closed, Susan drove back to Helena to continue the duties of her primary position. Her personal dedication, devotion and compassion for Montana Veterans and her fellow medical staff, despite any personal sacrifices, inspired her nomination by a fellow nurse.

In order to receive the Daisy Award, each nurse had to first be nominated. Nurses can be nominated by anyone in their organization including patients, family members, fellow nurses, physicians and other staff members.

Greater Helena Gives event continues today

The Helena Area Community Foundation celebrates the seventh year hosting Greater Helena Gives. This 24-hour period of giving is a celebration of philanthropy in the community, and is the largest online fundraising event for the Helena area. Last year, our community raised $159,710 for 74 local nonprofits. This year, 88 local nonprofits are signed up to participate.

The event began at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, and continues until 6 p.m. on Friday, May 7 . Donors can go to and make multiple donations to various nonprofits in a single transaction.

While the official giving day ends Friday, the site will remain open for donations through Monday, May 10 . Prizes are available for nonprofits to win throughout the giving period. For more information on the prizes available, go to

Visit the website at to find out more about the participating nonprofits.

Toastmaster advances to Region 4 competition

Neal Blossom, City of Gold Toastmasters Club in Helena, will advance to the Region 4 Toastmasters International Speech Competition (virtual) in July. Blossom took top honors in the Toastmasters International’s District 78 annual spring speech contest (virtual), where he competed against other Division winners from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Western Minnesota. Blossom will be competing against nine other district winners from Region 4, which comprises several western and mid-western states and three Canadian provinces.

The top two placers in Region 4 will advance to the World Semifinals at the August International On-Line Toastmasters Convention and Competition. In 2015, Blossom advanced to the world semifinals in Las Vegas.

Florence Crittenton expands programs

Florence Crittenton announced they are expanding their programs to provide opportunities for hope, healing and recovery for parents of all ages struggling with addictions and in need of parenting support. Florence Crittenton is a trauma informed, relationship-based organization that provides a wide variety of resources for pregnant and parenting women and young families of all ages.

Florence Crittenton has seen an increased demand for their programs and is seeking to meet the needs of families across the state and locally. The agencies Recovery Home will be increasing the number of beds to 8 on May 7, and have added additional addictions counselors to provide care on an outpatient/community basis to meet the needs of parents with substance use and/or mental health challenges in the community.

Florence Crittenton focuses on addressing trauma, mental health, and substance use in a positive, all while supporting parenting skill development and early childhood development in a judgment free setting. Our residential recovery program is unique in that parents can bring their children to treatment with them. 

Florence Crittenton’s Family Healing Center provides care to parents of all ages in the community including fathers, as well as mothers. Group, individual and family therapy are available by our licensed addictions counselors who provide support and encouragement for parents seeking recovery and simultaneously gives the opportunity to learn vital parenting skills. Parenting classes, assessments, supportive visitation, and home visitation are also available.

To apply for any of Florence Crittenton’s programs, call 406-442-6950 ext 307 or email More information is available at

Nar-Anon family group meeting

The Helena Nar-Anon Family Group, a 12-step program for families and friends of addicts, meets Mondays and Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Library of St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 512 Logan.

The library is located on the lower level of the main church building. Please enter using the Cruise Avenue entrance. The group observes COVID-19 protocols required by the church.

Red Cross blood donation opportunities

The American Red Cross is calling for donors of all blood types, especially those with type O blood, to race to give blood and help refuel the blood supply.

Schedule a donation appointment by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Healthy volunteer donors are needed every day to help keep the blood flowing for hospitals and patients that rely on a readily available blood supply. 

  • 5/12/2021: 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Department of Public Health and Human Services blood drive at Red Cross Donor Center, 3150 N. Montana Ave. B.
  • 5/13/2021: 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., Mazurek Justice Building blood drive at Red Cross Donor Center, 3150 N. Montana Ave. B.
  • 5/14/2021: Noon-6 p.m., Hannaford Street Bible Church, 830 N. Hannaford St.

Helena educator Montana’s nominee for NEA award 

A statewide selection committee for Montana’s nomination for the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence has named Katy Wright its 2021 nominee. A Helena educator, Wright specializes in Montessori-style education and has taught in the Helena Public School District since 2001.

“Katy Wright embodies the exceptionalism of MFPE member educators,” said MFPE President Amanda Curtis. “Wright has piloted several lessons for the Office of Public Instruction and serves on both the Montessori Task Force and the Digital Promise Practitioner Advisory Board. She is also a liaison for Indian Education for All. She is the recipient of several awards including the Helena Education Foundation Distinguished Educator Award in 2018 and the Let’s Talk About Great Teachers Award in 2011.

The NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes, rewards, and promotes both excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession. The award is sponsored by the National Education Association Foundation (NEA Foundation). National finalists for the award will be selected later this fall, and a national award winner will be named in February

“I am incredibly grateful to my union for the support I have received to become a teacher leader,” said NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence Nominee Wright.

Carroll students receive scholarships for service 

In recognition of exemplary service to their local communities, Carroll College students Riley Anne Dowdy and Alexis Karbowicz were recently included in the second round of winners for the 2021 George M. Dennison Civic Engagement Scholarship by Montana Campus Compact. MTCC received additional funds to support the critical work of the George M. Dennison Civic Engagement Scholarship program. As a result, MTCC awarded nine more recipients for spring 2021, bringing the total this year to 25 civically engaged college students from across Montana. Carroll students Krupa Patel and Danielle Scanes were awarded in the first round of 16.

Dowdy, a junior nursing major from Fort Collins, Colorado, has been involved in Carroll’s Campus Ministry as a peer minister, in addition to helping organize retreats and participating in service opportunities. She has also volunteered at the Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church youth group since her freshman year.

A junior anthrozoology major and theology minor from Portland, Oregon, Karbowicz has been involved in Carroll’s Campus Ministry through Service Saturdays as well as Headlights trips. Through Headlights, she has had the opportunity to serve in Denver, Colorado as well as Chicago, Illinois. In addition, for most of her freshman and sophomore year, she was heavily involved in Via, the women's faith group on campus.

Three students receive memorial scholarships

The Ray Hunthausen Junior Golf Foundation would like to recognize Caswell Bloomquist, Crystal Hofer, and Bennett Logan, the recipients of three $1,000 scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Bloomquist will be playing golf for Lewis College in Romeoville, Illinois, while pursuing a degree in professional aviation.

Hofer will be studying business and interior design at Montana State University-Northern, while Logan intends to fulfill his passion in computer science and electrical engineering at Montana State University-Bozeman. 

Funds for these scholarships are generated through the Hunthausen Classic golf tournament in memory of Ray Hunthausen, general manager and head golf professional at Green Meadow Country Club, and private donations.


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