By Martha Jacob –
Veralu Thornberg graduated from Hamersville High School in 1944. In 1945 she entered into nurses training and graduated in 1948. She knew she wanted to be a nurse most of her life, but also had a desire to serve her country.
On July 1, 1943, the United States Cadet Nurse Corps was established by the U.S. Congress. On June 15, 1943 it was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was in operation until late 1948.
When Veralu graduated in 1948 from nurses training there were 180,000 US Army Cadet Nurses enrolled, and 124,000 graduated. The purpose of the Cadet Nurse Corps was to ensure the country had enough nurses to care for its citizens at home and abroad during World War II.
It was a non-discriminatory program that allowed Native Americans, African Americans and relocated Japanese Americans to participate. The Corps was supervised by the United States Public Health Service, whose duty it was to train nurses during the war.
Veralu pledged to actively serve in essential civilian or federal government services for the duration of World War II.
Veralu joined the Cadet Nurse Corps because she wanted to serve her country. The American Hospital Association credited the cadet student nurses with helping to prevent the collapse of civilian nursing during the war.
Recently, Veralu Thornberg was honored by members of the Senior Citizens Group in Georgetown and Diane Lawrence with the Troop Box Ministries, close friend.
Lawrence read aloud the legacy of the Army Cadet Nurse Corps as it was written and signed by the Army Surgeon General, Norman T. Kirk, in his tribute to the corps on its 50th Anniversary……
…… ‘We should take the time out to pay special tribute to the dedicated group of women who promised to stay in nursing in the service of their country for as long as it was necessary to win the war that raged when they entered the service. Their contribution was critical to the many young men whom they cared for. It was a contribution we should never forget. By stepping into the uniform for their country, the US Cadet Nurse Corps played an essential role in ending the war. They should be honored for their service.’
Of the 1,300 schools of nursing at that time, there were 1,125 that participated in the program, which lasted until late 1948 when it was dissolved after the war by President Truman. Because of those actions, the cadets could not get the veterans status.
“Veralu worked for the Veterans Hospital in Day ton for two years,” said Lawrence during the recognition dinner.
“Veralu has been involved in more programs than I can even count. She’s been on the American Heart Association Board, secretary of the Brown County Seniors, one of the founding members of Seniors Alive, and a nurse at the Hamersville School for many years just to name a few.
“It has been my honor to know Veralu these years. And with all the things she has been involved in, she managed to marry and raise a family.
“She has been a great encouragement to the Troop Box Ministry, and I am so proud to have met and known her as a true friend. Thank you Veralu for your service to America.”
Thornberg was presented with a plaque of appreciation for her service as well as treated to a beautiful cake with the emblem of the Cadet Nurse Corps on it.