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'Be kind to people, it comes around'

Jan Fields, a longtime resident and teacher of Dickinson has had some struggles in her life but always looked to the brighter side of things. "My greatest life struggle would have been completing college, that was my dream," Fields said. Fields s...

Two of the staff members along with Jan Fields and St. Luke's Home administrator Amy Kreidt. (Tierny Hamlin / The Dickinson Press)
Two of the staff members along with Jan Fields and St. Luke's Home administrator Amy Kreidt. (Tierny Hamlin / The Dickinson Press)

Jan Fields, a longtime resident and teacher of Dickinson has had some struggles in her life but always looked to the brighter side of things.

"My greatest life struggle would have been completing college, that was my dream," Fields said.

Fields said her parents couldn't support her financially but she was fortunate to have a backup plan which was her uncle.

Fields was born and raised in Bismarck, where she shared her childhood with seven brothers, four older and three younger. Her mother stayed home to care for her children while her father worked at the Bismarck Airport.

"In the olden days, you had to work to be in the family, you had your jobs to do," Fields added.

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Her first job was babysitting, watching six girls at the age of 9. Fields said babysitting was the main reason she later became a teacher.

The first family trip Fields got to go on was to Yellowstone National Park while riding in the family's "old wood station wagon," Fields said.

During the holidays, Fields said her family would dye about 12 dozen Easter eggs because everyone had to have a dozen.

"Christmas was crazy, as you can imagine," Fields said. "We didn't get a lot of gifts, most times two or three really favorite ones."

"I went to Bismarck High School then Bismarck Junior College and on to Valley City State," Fields said. "I loved school and the atmosphere of school."

Meeting Mr. Fields

During her time at Bismarck Junior College, Fields met her future husband. Bill Fields came from Indiana in the middle of the school year when it was 40-below zero in North Dakota.

"I think that scared him a bit," Fields said.

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After she and her husband Bill graduated from Bismarck Junior College, they both went to Valley City together and graduated again. She then taught for a year in Nebraska while her husband got his psychology degree.

In 1965, the couple moved to Dickinson, where she started teaching. The Fields have lived in Dickinson ever since. The Fields' have one daughter who lives in California with her husband and three children.

A tumble

In December 2017, Fields took a spill down the stairs at her home and suffered many injuries, leading her to move into St. Luke's Home from December to March.

"Every little progress you make, the staff shows pride in what you've accomplished," Fields said of her recovery.

Fields said the therapists she met with were caring, thorough, patient and positive about her progress. She said they were also mindful of her feelings and supportive when she struggled.

"It's a home, it's friendly," Fields said. "The staff is awesome, very compassionate and caring. I give all my getting better to them."

Meeting the needs

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Amy Kreidt is the administrator for St. Luke's. "It is considered their home so we are here to help them and give them what they need," Kreidt said.

Some people come into the home for long-term care, some are there for a couple months and others only a week. St. Luke's strives to help residents with realistic goals, she said.

"The exciting part is to have a resident that is successfully rehabbed and is going home," Kreidt said. "We have a quite a few veterans in the building because we have a Veterans (Affairs) contract through the government and accommodate to their needs."

Kreidt said she thinks of St. Luke's as it's own city because there are so many people around to help and so many activities that their residents can do there.

St. Luke's is a 24/7 operation and there is always someone to help.

"When there is a snowstorm, we still have to provide care, we can't just close down or close down during the day. We're here and were providing all day everyday," Kreidt said.

Fields added that everybody in St. Luke's is your friend. "There are no frowns and a smile is upon everyone's face."

Kreidt said, "The nurses are great and they provide care that no one else wants to."

"It is a wonderful place and I would come back in a heartbeat, but not on the conditions that I did before," said Fields, grinning.

Fields said that the most important thing she learned in life so far would be, "Be kind to people, it comes around. I certainly found that out when I was here, the friends and people you knew that came to visit were always concerned about you."

One of the therapists at St. Luke's Home along with Jan Fields, who spent about three months recovering from injuries at the home, and St. Luke's administrator Amy Kreidt. (Tierny Hamlin / The Dickinson Press)
One of the therapists at St. Luke's Home along with Jan Fields, who spent about three months recovering from injuries at the home, and St. Luke's administrator Amy Kreidt. (Tierny Hamlin / The Dickinson Press)

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