Husband Gives Gift to Young Nurses in Memory of Wife | VideoJuli McDonald | 9/8/2010
When Hank Swierenga was transferred by the Minneapolis Tribune to Bismarck more than 50 years ago, he thought his stay would only be two weeks. But he didn`t plan on meeting Vivian Hoff.
"I saw this nurse walking around with these students, that was Vivian. When I got to the Bible class, I said that`s the same one. I asked, I said, `Can you get me a date with her?` It took about two weeks," said Hank. "I finally got a date with her and the four of us went to a movie.
Ten weeks later, Hank and Vivian were married. They moved around with their children, living in Illinois, Minneapolis and retiring to Arizona. Vivian worked at a number of hospitals, but after she passed away last fall, Hank knew he wanted to give back to the place where her career began.
"She was always proud," added Hank. "She always wore a pin, Bismarck Hospital School of Nursing. Always wore that pin."
Hank has donated $200,000 to Medcenter One College of Nursing in memory of Vivian. It`s the largest donation ever from a living donor.
"I thought, this is a way to give to the nursing and to Medcenter One, something back to both of them and the city," said Hank.
"The gift is a charitable gift annuity, which means that it`s a fixed lifetime income for the donor, as well as a tax deduction. Upon the death of the donor, the remaining amount goes into our endowment here at the College of Nursing, which is a gift that gives forever," said Wanda Rose with the Medcenter One College of Nursing.
And what better way for a legacy to live on, than through the gift of learning.
Hank and Vivian would have celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on Aug. 30. Hank says what made her a great nurse was her love for people.