LaDonna Fehr cares deeply for people.
The 1976 Briercrest alum has found ways to do that in her nursing career as well as in her ministry alongside her husband.
“I’ve always felt that it’s a high calling to care for and reach people at all levels – both emotionally as well as spiritually and physically,” she said.
Fehr was honoured at Briercrest’s graduation as the 2012 Briercrest Alumnus of the Year. Briercrest President Dwayne Uglem presented her with the award.
“LaDonna exemplifies the mission of Briercrest, offering her life in service to others,” he said. “She’s made a choice to serve God in her work and has shown Gods heart and compassion to people.”
The honoured alumnus is the director of Clinical Operations – Systemic Therapy for a new full service radiation/chemotherapy cancer care centre in northern British Columbia which is set to open this fall. Fehr began nursing at this location over 20 years ago when it was just “a tiny little chemotherapy treatment clinic.”
Ronald Chapman, chief medical health officer of Northern Health, sings Fehr’s praises.
“If there is one person you want on your team when developing a new cancer service, it’s LaDonna Fehr,” he exclaimed. “She is a master at trouble shooting, and making sure everyone comes out on the other side in a better position than before.”
Chapman has seen some specific examples where Fehr’s creative ideas have provided key solutions.
“A good example was when we lost all our pharmacists west of Prince George in a period of four months,” he recalled. “LaDonna and her team developed a regional pharmacy service that now services the nine outlying cancer clinics via telemedicine. It is now seen as a sustainable model for rendering high quality cancer pharmacy services in rural communities.”
Fehr and her husband Mel also saw great growth and success at Westwood Mennonite Brethren Church where her husband pastored for 25 years. They began at the church with 150 people and retired two years ago with a congregation of just less than 1000.
“Ironically I would say I think I found myself in leadership positions in health care because of my experience in helping my husband lead a church,” she explained. “The work and effort and wisdom – the learning from mistakes – the leadership is the same wherever you put it.”
Fehr never sought out a leadership position in nursing for herself. In fact, when her husband completed his graduate degree in theology, she took off her nursing shoes and threw them in the dumpster.
“I very deliberately chose not to continue in my career because I joined (my husband) in his,” she explained.
Throughout her years in ministry she continued to do nursing a few hours each pay period in order to maintain her nursing license. She laughs at how things have turned out.
“It’s kind of funny,” she chuckled. “I gave up my career to do ministry and God handed it back to me. I didn’t really go after leadership positions. I was asked to take them – that’s how I ended up where I am now. We’re very invested in our community in Prince George. I have a significant role to do and my husband’s still a community leader.”
Fehr openly confesses that one of her greatest joys in life has been getting to “dream big dreams in partnership” with her husband.
“I would never have thought that we would build a church together and now we’re actively building a cancer centre together,” she said. “Those have been a huge joy because we dreamed those dreams together.”
Fehr credits her Briercrest experience for helping her “understand what her values and principles were” and teaching her how to “live with wisdom and insight.”
“I believe more than ever that Jesus and His Word adds more wellness to our lives,” she exclaimed. “My belief in that has only grown.
The Prince George resident is clear about her driving force.
“My greatest joy is loving Jesus and bringing down barriers so others might love Him too.”