…Once a volunteer, always a volunteer

By JOSH COTTON

jcotton@timesobserver.com

Once a nurse, always a nurse.

Fannie Donovan completed her preliminary nursing training in 1939.

That would be the start of a seven decade period where she would spend untold hours working and volunteering in the health field.

While nurse training today is the responsibility of colleges and universities, hospitals trained their own nurses in the 30s.

Donovan said her training started at the Oil City Hospital and also included stints at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as well as in Warren County at the Warren State Hospital.

After working at the Franklin hospital for several years, Donovan enlisted in the army to continue her work.

Taking time off to start a family after the war, Donovan has stayed in the nursing field, volunteering with the Red Cross and the Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County.

She was volunteering with the Red Cross when a series of tornadoes came through the Tionesta and Tidioute area in the mid-1980s.

After moving to Warren in 1991, she began volunteering at Warren General Hospital.

“I spent a lot of time there,” she said. “Anything I could do. We had to take people to endoscopy, with one day surgery. (I) spent some time as a volunteer in the waiting room for one day surgery.”

And her volunteer work hasn’t gone without notice.

While she informally ‘retired’ from volunteering in 2012 at the age of 92, the Warren General Hospital Auxiliary recognized her in 2012 for 5,000 hours of service.