Through his “Montanan of the Week” initiative, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., each week spotlights a Montanan by submitting a statement of recognition in the official Congressional Record, the document that reflects the official proceedings of Congress.
Daines welcomes anyone to nominate fellow Montanans for Daines’ “Montanan of the Week” program by calling Daines’ office at 202-224-2651 or by filling out the contact form on Daines’ website: http://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve.
This week’s honor goes to Belle Wendelburg of Ekalaka for her continued work in serving her community all the way to the age of 95. Belle retired from Dahl Memorial Nursing Home in Ekalaka in July of 2016 after working there for more than 20 years. She loved the residents and enjoyed the opportunity to work and serve others.
Belle was born on May 3, 1921, on a family homestead near Westmore. She was the youngest of three children. Growing up around Westmore, Belle attended Spring Hill Grade School where she had to ride a horse 7 miles to get to school.
Belle enrolled in the Green Thumb program, a government work program, and then began working in activities for Dahl Memorial Nursing Home. While her primary job was to work in activities, Belle wasn’t afraid to work wherever she was needed. She helped make meals, set up for meals, wash dishes, read to residents, and work with Alzheimer’s patients. She continued to work at the nursing home even after she was diagnosed with cancer. Her family reports that she is still as fit as ever and can probably outrun most people much younger than she.
Belle also worked every Christmas at the home, ensuring the residents got the presents they were supposed to get and helping them write thank you letters for the gifts. She was involved with the spiritual health of the residents by reading devotionals to them. Belle worked at the home every Sunday when extra staff were needed to help residents attend chapel services.
Through her giving spirit she provides residents encouragement and inspiration every day. To her co-workers, she is also an inspiration. The Nursing Home CEO, Nadene Elmore says, “Whenever I see Belle, I tell her I want to be just like her when I grow up.”
Belle entertains staff at lunches with stories and endless knowledge of the community’s history. Throughout the past 20 years, Belle has remained faithful in her love for her home and the eastern Montana prairie.