LINDA HANNIGAN MAKERT
CLASS OF 1970, RETIRED NAVY RESERVE COMMANDER & CERTIFIED REGISTER NURSE ANESTHETIST
FOREVER FRANKFORD PIONEER
During my time at Frankford High School, I was Vice President of the Student Board, a member of Y-Teens, Thanatopsis, Leaders Club and a majorette. I never missed a pep rally or football game.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY
I started my nursing education at Presbyterian Hospital School of License Practical Nursing. After working a few years, getting married and having our first daughter—I returned to get my registered nursing diploma at Episcopal Hospital School of Nursing. I worked in various fields of nursing as a staff nurse, and then was promoted to Clinical Coordinator of Obstetrics—had another daughter—then went on to work as Assistant Director of Nursing. At the same time, I attended evening classes and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from LaSalle University.
In 1988, I decided to follow the advice of a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) and again returned to school to obtain a Master’s Degree in Science from St Joseph’s University with a focus on anesthesia from Nazareth Hospital.
While at anesthesia school, a US Naval recruiter visited our class, asking for students to enlist. The recruiter explained how we would receive officer status, a stipend and paid tuition. I enlisted for six years in the reserves, but stayed for 20. How could I say no? My daughters were in 6th and 10th grade and my husband was the Commanding Officer of the Philadelphia Ordnance Disposal Unit. It wasn’t easy, but with the foundation I received at Frankford and the determination instilled in me by my amazing teachers—I graduated top of my anesthesia class, cum sum laude and a Lieutenant JG in the US Naval Reserve.
LIVING THE DREAM…
During my 25 years as a CRNA at Nazareth Hospital, I also instructed 400 anesthesia students. Meanwhile, I rose to the rank of Commander in my 20-year naval career; and had the privilege of serving at many US naval hospitals, and hospitals in Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Most proudly, I served on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and assisted in two life-saving surgeries.
My Navy responsibilities were to administered all forms of anesthesia to sailors and their families. I also trained corpsmen for combat and emergency situations. I’m authorized to wear the following decorations: National Defense Service Metal, Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Metal, War of Terrorism Service Metal, Humanitarian Service Metal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Metal, Armed Forces Reserve Metal, Expert Pistol Metal and Recruiting Service Ribbon. I wear them all proudly.
THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
I’ve never had a job I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have met amazing people from all walks-of-life and made lifelong friends. I’ve wanted to be a nurse since childhood—but the role of CRNA, also gave me the autonomy that I so enjoyed. Anesthesia is a difficult course of learning but, extremely gratifying to be able to comfort a patient, while administering safe anesthesia as part of the surgical team.
SHAPING FOR THE FUTURE
Frankford taught and encouraged me to be independent, self-sufficient and to understand the importance of teamwork. The US Navy further developed and enforced those attributes.
My teachers at Frankford molded me into a person who has a quest for knowledge and success. Mr. Donohoe, Mr. Gutelius,
Mr. D’Alessandro, Mr. Gonsiewski, Mr. Folino, and Mr De Gregoria just, to name a few… took a true interest in me as a student. I was fortunate enough to be part of the extended Frankford Pioneer Family. Outside Frankford’s walls, there were some trying times in the 1967-1970 time period. It made me aware of my surroundings and appreciate the friendships and opportunities available.
PAY IT FORWARD
If I could go back to 1970 and give myself advice, I would encourage myself to attend college and get that BSN from the beginning, instead of going the long route as I did. Education is such a game-changer. It opens doors that you could only dream about. But if post-high school education isn’t for you, the military route might be the dream you’re looking to achieve. You’ll learn an important trade and experience unimaginable camaraderie.
Because of the education gifts I received at Frankford, I feel the importance of giving back—paying it forward. I’ve volunteered for medical missions in Haiti and Guatemala, but most importantly I’m a member of the Frankford Alumni Association. As the current Vice President, I assist with tasks that improve the education of others.
SMALL, BUT POWERFUL
We are a small group, but get a lot done. One important task is raising money, so we can present students with scholarships at graduation. The Alumni Newsletter (printed and online) and Frankford-Alumni.com (alumni website) and the Alumni Association’s Facebook page—our products for gathering and sharing information with alumni--help us to stay connected with each other and the activities at Frankford. We provide the yearly, Welcome Back to School Breakfast for the faculty, keep the infamous organ tuned, sell all kinds of alumni merchandise and more…
When I look back at my life, I realize how truly blessed I have been. Yes, I’ve worked hard, but every minute has been worthwhile. I recently reconnected with a former Frankford classmate. We had lost touch, but after 50 years and an afternoon of conversation—we realized how much our time at Frankford meant to us.
WORDS TO LIVE BY…
I like to live by the motto my mother always said to me: “Never say you can’t. Always say you’ll try,” and then as I told my children… “I only expect you to do the best that you can.”