Helena Reimer

A Moment from Yesterday

May 5, 2021 | Opinion | Volume 25 Issue 10
Conrad Stoesz | Mennonite Heritage Archives
(Photo: Helena F. Reimer Photograph Collection / Mennonite Heritage Archives)

To celebrate Manitoba’s 150th birthday, the Trailblazer’s Award was established. Helena Reimer (1905-1993) of Steinbach, Man., was a recipient. Reimer was a nurse, educator, administrator and a pioneer. She was one of the first nurses in Canada selected to participate overseas in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration during the Second World War. She is pictured in 1944 at a refugee camp in Tolumbat, Egypt. In 1946, she was transferred to Taiwan/China, and in 1951 she worked with the World Health Organization in Cambodia. From 1953 to 1956 she was part of the University of Alexandria, Egypt. In 1957, she became secretary registrar of the Association of Nurses in Quebec. In 1974, she received the Order of Canada and, in 1977, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. She has been described as having “a voracious appetite for hard work. . . . Her creed was adapting yourself to your environment, improving conditions when possible, accepting those that could not be improved, then doing what could be done cheerfully.”

For more historical photos in the Mennonite Archival Image Database, see archives.mhsc.ca.

Related stories:
B.C. baptism
Herman Walde
Group photo
Modern life
Epp sisters

(Photo: Helena F. Reimer Photograph Collection / Mennonite Heritage Archives)

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Impressive résumé!

Given our current worldwide context of upheavals, deepening polarization and a seeming dearth of shared vision, perhaps even potently wise leadership modelling compassionate, purposefully peaceable selflessness, etc., might it be helpful/useful for this current generation (80 and under) to learn or relearn some of the personal anecdotal and faith historical contexts, of that generational cohort?

That is, do a “deeper dive” researching and re-telling the story of their time, and how the worldwide and personal contexts intersected, to produce such models of personal, spiritual, civic, national and international visionaries and and activists who dedicated their lives to such supported callings.

(Personal, familial, civic and faith community, national, international contexts)

What was happening in the world?
How did they learn of these things?
How was the situation presented?
What motivated them?
Why did they care?
Who/what convinced them that this was a worthy pursuit for them?
Who organized, helped facilitate their calling, placement, support?
How was the mission pursued, supported, nurtured, achieved?

I wonder whether a seasonal or monthly feature might be possible? Feasible? Meaningful?

I am imagining a story teaser (such as this one) with a hyper-link (if need be, for space, etc.) to the more detailed story or account?

Those were different times than our current experience, yet our humanity has not changed significantly, in that short stretch of chronos.

That's a great suggestion, Clare—thank you. We'll give it some thought.

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