More than 75 friends, family and co-workers gathered September 29 at Mill Creek Elementary School for a memorial tree planting service to remember the school’s former nurse, Mary Ann Guernsey. Guernsey served MCES for 11 years, and she passed away March 30, 2011, from cancer. Nurses with Bulloch County Schools and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), from the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center (SRSAC), donated the 8-foot Crape Myrtle Tree and the accompanying monument in her memory.
“Mary Ann was a dedicated school nurse and employee,” said MCES Principal Patrick Hill. Guernsey was with the school system for 15 years working at Stilson, Nevils, Mattie Lively, and Sallie Zetterower Elementary Schools, and MCES since its opening in 1999.
Nurses with both Bulloch County Schools and SANE raised money to pay for the tree and monument. Kathy Wood, lead nurse for Bulloch County Schools, Renea Durrence, school nurse at William James Middle School, and MCES Principal Patrick Hill all shared their memories of Guernsey.
Durrence and Guernsey often worked on SANE cases together. The SRSAC and local law enforcement contract specially trained, SANE-certified volunteer nurses to offer sexual assault victims the forensic exam. “Mary Ann was not afraid to get up in the middle of the night to work on a case,” said Durrence. “She was always the first person I called, and I miss her every day.”
“She touched the lives of not only MCES students and staff, but also assisted at the Council for Exceptional Children’s summer school and worked in community health care services such as Hospice,” said Hill. Guernsey also worked for the Bulloch County Health Department and in labor and delivery at Bulloch Memorial Hospital.