December 2012 Issue
November 19, 2012

Letters: Cadet nurses deserve support and recognition as veterans

Source: NYSUT United

I was taken by Liza Frenette's article, "Seeking honor for duty," (NYSUT United, November 2012) about Anne Kakos, one of our American heroes, risking her life for her country.

As a retired school counselor and former chairperson of government relations for the New York State School Counselors Association (NYSSCA), I admire Anne's wonderful spirit and energy.

Getting something done legislatively is a long and tedious process, but I feel that this is a timely issue and should receive support in Congress. Usually the issue that holds up legislation is the cost factor, and as we know, this is a particularly sensitive time.

However, if the cost is not prohibitive, the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Equity Act may have a good chance. Hopefully others reading this article will be inspired to act on behalf of Anne and all the nurses who have served in such a critical capacity. They certainly deserve recognition for their efforts.

Carol Bedell,
Lancaster CTA, Inc.

Like the retired school nurse Anne Kakos, I also served in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. I graduated from St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing, Newburgh, and was one of the 124,000 who completed the nursing program. I was sent by the government to McGuire Veterans Hospital, Richmond, Va., for my last six months of nursing school.

It was a wonderful nursing and educational experience taking care of those veterans who were wounded in World War II. I went on to teach at Orange County Community College in the Registered Nursing Program in 1956. This nursing program was the first associate degree program in the United States.

I left OCCC in 1957 and became a supervisor and teacher in the new practical nursing program in the Rockland County Vocational Education and Extension Board — now BOCES. Next, my husband was stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. We purchased a home in Newburgh because we were supposed to be there permanently. A war always changes everything.

My husband went off to a second tour of duty in Vietnam, and when he returned he had a heart attack and died at the age of 36. My children were 8 and 4. That was a very stressful war and many men had heart attacks.

Life was difficult, but teaching and living in Newburgh helped stabilize our lives, and I was fortunate to continue to coordinate and teach in the high school nursing program until they finally transferred the students to BOCES. I then became a school nurse teacher for two years and then retired.

I agree with Anne Kakos that those who served in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps should be declared United States veterans.

Christina K. Sharp, retiree,
Newburgh TA, AFT Everyday Hero, 2011