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Meet Jill Wiese
Nurse, Sanford Health
Sitting still isn’t something you’ll usually see Jill Wiese doing. She’s an energetic, on-the-move woman with a mission to help those around her.
Whether it’s working as a registered nurse in same-day surgery at Sanford Bismarck or serving as an on-call emergency medical technician with the Washburn, North Dakota, ambulance service, Jill packs as much as she can into any given day.
She finds responding to ambulance calls fulfilling. And the proof is in her 28 years of service as an EMT. She serves on weekends and says there is never a dull moment. The squad has several high school students that Jill helps train.
“The ambulance is my wheelhouse,” says Jill. “It’s my medical fun for the weekend.”
In the winter, Jill can be found on the ski slopes at Huff Hills as part of the ski patrol. For the past 22 years, she’s used her EMT and nursing skills to help those who’ve been injured.
Jill also has a passion for volunteering with The God’s Child Project in Antigua, Guatemala, a nonprofit started by her friend 30 years ago. The Project focuses on care and education for children, widows and single mothers living in intense poverty.
Jill has gone to Guatemala for the past eight years with other volunteers from Sanford Health. She helps in a variety of areas while she’s there, doing everything from helping build a house to caring for babies and toddlers at the malnutrition hospital, Casa Jackson.
“That’s probably our favorite place,” says Jill.
The group also brings supplies to midwives in Antigua. This year, nurses in the NICU at Sanford Bismarck sterilized and gathered scissors and sent off hundreds with the volunteer team.
Jill and her group have an online wish list so their friends can see what they need. Because of their friends’ generosity, they’ve helped supply blood pressure cuffs, headlamps, dopplers, batteries, a fishing scale and laminated cards with CPR instructions in Spanish that are then brought to Guatemala.
“Every year, we get an idea of what The God’s Child Project needs and provide it,” Jill says. “We try to give them good equipment and supplies. They’re just blown away.”
Her group of friends also started a menstrual ministry and has dozens of volunteers and church and quilt groups that sew washable, sanitary pads for patients who come to the family clinic. Jill and the volunteers educate young girls on how to use the items and have interpreters help with the language barrier. Each girl gets new sanitary pads, underwear, lip gloss, lotion, hand sanitizer, soap, hair ties and more in a cute, drawstring bag.
Jill also shares her musical talents in Guatemala. She took the first guitar she owned and left it at the hospital so she can play for the children.
“When I’m there, we have ‘musica’ time. The kids dance and we play and sing,” says Jill.
Back home, Jill plays an upright bass named Bertha in a bluegrass band called Cotton Wood. The band is best known for its annual fundraiser, Bluegrass Goes Pink, which raises money for cancer patients.
“My sister died of breast cancer 19 years ago. We started it in memory of her and it blossomed from there,” says Jill. “We’ve blessed a lot of people with our music. It’s very, very fun.”
When asked what her advice is to those looking to volunteer, Jill says to do what you love.
“Do the things you know,” says Jill. “It’s just good to get out.”