Clare County Review & Marion Press

Faces in the Crowd: Paula Nevins

Although Paula Nevins spent much of her life in places like Florida, and Kentucky, Marion has always been her home.
As a kid, she vividly remembers riding her bike from store to store and street to street, often winding up at her grandparents – Bernie’s IGA Foodliner – grocery store.
And while she often visited her hometown over the years, she just recently made the move back for good.
It’s often said that home is where the heart is, and in Paula’s case, being home is what makes her happy.
But Paula also finds joy in her nursing career. She’s spent 36 years working in nursing – in ER, oncology, and IV therapy, and most recently in hospice. She currently works in hospice for Munson Hospital, and she enjoys helping patients and families find comfort during incredibly difficult times.
We caught up with Paula recently, and learned a little bit more about her story, her family, her faith, and her commitment to her hometown. We learned that Paula Nevins is certainly more than just another face in the crowd.
Marion Press: Were you born and raised in Marion?
Paula: I was when I was little, and we left when I was about 6 years old.
MP: What do you remember most about Marion as a kid?
Paula: Just the community, and how they pulled together. My grandmother and grandfather – Lola and Bernie Schumacher – owned the IGA. Many fond memories of that store. My grandfather was the butcher in the back, and we’d go in the back and pester him some. Then he’d kind of shoo us forward, and my grandmother would get ahold of us.
Lots of fond memories. I said at one time, I really believed that I was either related by blood or marriage to about 75% of Marion! There’s five or six generations in Greenfield Cemetery there, both sides of the family.
MP: What kept you busy as a kid?
Paula: I think just playing outside. We were all over this town as kids. Doc Youngman was in town then, and he lived up on the hill. I always used to pester his sons – they’d be up mowing the little golf course back there, and I’d want to ride with them, so they’d put me on and let me ride with them. We rode our bikes all over the town. It was nothing. And I look back, and think, “I’d never have let my kids…” But you didn’t have to worry about anything back then. This would’ve been the early ‘60s. The ‘50s and ‘60s was like the golden time. There was so much going on in town, lots of businesses opened. And everybody helped everybody, and it was just that kind of a lifestyle.
MP: Where did life take you after high school?
Paula: After high school [in Florida] I went right into nursing school. Graduated with my associates degree in nursing in ’86… I loved the medical aspect of it, I loved the science of it. Microbiology was my favorite class.
I stayed in nursing, and it’s been 36 years now.
MP: So did most of your nursing career take place in Florida?
Paula: No, actually most of it was in Kentucky; we moved to Kentucky after a while. Did the emergency room when I was in Florida, left there and then did the emergency room and IV therapy/oncology [in Kentucky]. Left there, and went to hospice. Did hospice for about 5 years, and absolutely fell in love with it.
MP: It seems like [being a hospice nurse] can be an incredibly difficult job.
Paula: It is, but I say it’s the essential nursing. You’re treating symptoms; you’re doing symptom management with patients in their home. I had one patient that I admitted – and of course, we bring in medicine to help with pain and comfort – and within 30 minutes of me getting there and doing the admission, the family was like, “This is the first time they’ve been pain free in 6 months.” Just that, it’s like, yes. I did what I was supposed to do. That’s my job.
Everybody’s all excited and happy when a baby’s born, but then when it hits the other end of the line, it’s not a pleasant thing to think about sometimes. But that’s kind of the most important time, because they’re wrapping up their life. They need closure; their family needs closure. I think it’s really important.
MP: Tell us a little bit about your family.
Paula: I just lost a brother at the beginning of the year; we’re actually burying him here in Winterfield this Saturday. And my dad’s there too, so that’s okay. They’re together. Two brothers: Timothy [recently passed], and David Nevins. I have two daughters: Courtney and Christa, and two granddaughters: Sophie and Winnie. They all live in Kentucky. Courtney is a cosmetologist/beautician, and Christa is a teacher in primary education and literature.
MP: When did you decide to come back home?
Paula: Like I say, if it was up to me, I never would’ve left! Just life changes. You get into a different season, and you’re like, “I think that would make me happy to be there.” And as you get older, you realize that you’re not going to be around forever. You’ve got to make yourself happy. Do what makes you happy. And being home makes me happy. This is home. Marion has always been home.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about being back home?
Paula: Just being here. I used to make two or three trips up here every year anyway. I always used to come up here in the fall – I love the fall. Once the leaves start to change and it cools down, it’s like heaven.
Just being home; you know you’re home. The outdoors – it’s pretty rural where I live – and it’s quiet, and peaceful. The ruralness of the area, but yet we still pull together as a community.
MP: When you’re not working, what keeps you busy in your free time?
Paula: I garden, I do needlepoint, I crochet…
MP: All the old-school hobbies!
Paula: Yes! And the funny thing is, I didn’t really get into those until about 5 years ago. As a kid, my grandmother showed me how to crochet, and I thought, “I’m never going to do that again…” But then, as you get older, I think you appreciate those things more. You tend to appreciate those things from your childhood more. It’s those memories that you build as a child; that foundation. You get that comforting feeling doing something from your past.
MP: Who have been your role models over the years?
From the nursing aspect, Florence Nightingale. She modernized nursing, when it was basically horrible back then. In my Christian faith, R.C. Sproul – he’s a great theologian; Al Mohler – he’s a great theologian. When I think of people who’ve influenced me the most, it’s probably those who have influenced my Christian faith.
And my grandmother, Lola. She had a lot of influence as far as what’s important and what’s not important in life. And you either do things right, or you don’t do them at all. And you want to make sure that if you get paid for a job, that you’re doing that job. Those foundational principles behind the business; she was very much the businesswoman – she ran the books, she did everything for the business. You treat people like you want to be treated, and you go above and beyond to build the trust of the people that you’re doing business with – so you keep their trust, and can keep doing business with them.

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