Picture: Newspaper entrance web page after lethal fireplace / New Headstone
In current months there have been numerous acts of violence in opposition to nurses and in hospitals across the nation. Sufferers bringing weapons into hospitals in Nashville. Nurses shot in Dallas. Sadly, there haven’t been many “uplifting” tales.
Just lately, a former “orphan” nurse that helped sufferers throughout a lethal fireplace was remembered and given a correct burial and headstone in Florida. Gertrude Warnick, 55, was a nurse, a sister, and an orphan. Sadly, she additionally was forgotten after her dying in 1953. Hailed an area hero on the time – her grave remained unmarked and forgotten for many years.
Till not too long ago.
Picture: New Headstone
David Barmore, an beginner preservationist and volunteer with the Dunedin Historical past Museum, began to research Warnick’s outstanding story.
Warnick, born in 1896, spent most of her childhood at St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum in Columbus, Ohio, and finally moved to Florida along with her sister, Susanna, in 1941. Warnick later labored as a nurse on the Littlefield Nursing Residence, the place she additionally lived as a part of the job.
On March 30, 1953, there was a lethal fireplace and Warnick died together with 32 others.
Picture: Aftermath of the fireplace
“A fierce, early morning fireplace, fanned by a powerful breeze, right this moment destroyed the Littlefield Nursing Residence south of Largo, killing most likely 32 individuals. It was the worst tragedy in Pinellas County Historical past,” photojournalist Bob Preston reported in a front-page story for the St. Petersburg Occasions.
After the fireplace, there have been numerous information reviews detailing the fireplace and the heroism of Warnick.
“A nurse who made repeated rescue journeys into the blazing Littlefield Nursing Residence perished when she made “yet another journey” into the crumbling, smoke-filled constructing. A thriller heroine, Gertrude Warnick, 55, was considered one of two nurses on obligation within the dwelling. She was one of many first to arouse sufferers. Ned Moren, son-in-law of the nursing dwelling operator, advised how Miss Warnick made journey after journey, main or carrying typically quiet, typically wildly preventing sufferers out. “She heard somebody name inside,” Moren stated, “and made one final journey. She disappeared within the smoke. We referred to as to her after we couldn’t see her anymore and she or he answered as soon as.” Moren, and others, stated repeated calls to Miss Warnick introduced no reply. The constructing was crumbling, and warmth, so intense it blistered paint on buildings throughout the street, drove would-be rescuers again. A charred and smoldering physique was 20 ft contained in the entrance door in what was a hall. The physique was recognized as that of Miss Warnick… Miss Warnick’s sister, Susy, stated the nurse had come to St. Petersburg 12 years in the past. “She did home tasks till a couple of 12 months and a half in the past when she went to Littlefield’s as a sensible nurse. She had by no means been a nurse earlier than. She was very cheerful and really affected person. I final noticed her about two weeks in the past. She appreciated her work and stated it was very arduous. She used to speak concerning the sufferers and sympathize with them.” – St. Petersburg Occasions
“A valiant nurse who disappeared within the fiery ruins of the Littlefield Nursing Residence blaze was credited with giving her life in an try and retrieve motionless sufferers from this morning’s tragic fireplace that claimed 33 lives. Miss Gertrude Josephine Warnick, 55, pulled one inmate from the flaming body constructing, then was seen returning to a piece the place arthritic sufferers have been bedridden and helpless. The tall, darkish haired girl by no means got here out. “She was that form of nurse,” commented Mrs. O.T. Dryden, night time nurse at one other relaxation dwelling throughout from the Littlefield place.” – Tampa Tribune
The Tampa Bay Occasions reported Warnick’s story in April. She was lastly given a headstone in October. Barmore, together with a number of different locals, helped assure that Warnick was now not the forgotten nurse right here. Buried at Clearwater Municipal Cemetery, Warnick’s grave was positioned within the again, unmarked, and subsequent to a different unknown sufferer of the fireplace.
Dunedin Historical past Museum’s govt director, Vinnie Luisi, labored carefully with Barmore to make sure the grave would obtain a stone in a well timed method.
“I’m simply grateful that her title is out within the public now,” he stated. “Individuals are conscious of what she did, and she or he’s acknowledged within the cemetery.”
Luisi shared the story with the Pinellas County historic committee. Together with Michael Helmstetter, CEO of Clearwater’s Jolley Trolley, a portion of the proceeds from a Clearwater Haunted Tour went in direction of Warnick’s headstone.
Warnick will even be honored subsequent 12 months by the Clearwater Historic Society’s annual exhibit on girls’s historical past.
“She wants a gravestone,” stated Allison Dolan, the society’s president.