In celebration of Older Americans Month, we are recognizing the contributions made by older adults in our communities. We are sharing the nominations submitted for the LifeStream Golden Hoosier Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteerism by older adults. Stay tuned for an announcement on the winners of this award in the coming weeks.

Jan Bronnenberg

Jan Bronnenberg has been a volunteer with St. Vincent Anderson for the last 11 years. When she sees something she thinks will benefit others, Jan responds with passion. Jan, who is a RN, attended a funeral in Southern Indiana of a friend who was also a nurse. During the ceremony Jan noticed a nurse in a white uniform and cap that stood at the foot of the casket. This gesture touched Jan so much that she came back and wanted to start a Nursing Honor Guard program at St. Vincent Anderson.

Jan spoke to the leadership and then presented her ideas at the retired nurse’s lunch. She had several nurses who had an interest and signed up right then. After about 5 months, Jan and her team got all of the details in place and had their first service on September 30, 2014.

Since then they have honored 179 RN’s and LPN’s. Jan has since started 16 Nursing Honor Guard programs throughout the state of Indiana. There are 27 active guard members and 7 inactive members from hospitals of the St. Vincent Community as well as other healthcare areas.

Jan worked to be sure that all of the funeral homes are aware of this free service to honor their loved one. The funeral home then is able to offer these services to the family. The Nursing Honor Guard can stand guard at the casket, urn, or photo, perform a short service that includes the Florence Nightingale Tribute, roll call, and nurses’ prayer. They also set up a display table with a white Bible, Florence Nightingale lamp, and nurses’ cap.

A member of the family receives the candle lamp they use in the service and bookmarks are given to family and friends as a keepsake. The Nursing Honor Guard has attended funeral homes, churches, graveside, and parks. Jan has put her heart and soul into this program, which includes RN’s and LPN’s that have worked in my different hospitals and in many different capacities, but their profession and life of service to touch others is respected and remembered for their families to always cherish.

Jan has been part of United Way Senior Link, a program to call isolated seniors, for 4 years. She enjoys speaking with her “friend” multiple times a week, spending on average 3 hours a week in conversation.

Jan has spent 3 hours a week for the last 13 or 14 years volunteering for the Henry County Pregnancy Care Center. This organization offers pregnancy tests, counseling, clothing, diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, and toys.

Recently, Jan has been ask to speak at Anderson University to the BSN Nursing students to share her experience of 51 years of nursing.

For the last 3 years, Jan has been making ‘Hope Bags” to give to the homeless community. Inside the bags are toiletries, a Bible, McDonald’s gift card, mask, hand sanitizer and other needed items. She has shared her outreach with her church and they are now partnering with Jan to create even more “Hope Bags” to share with those in need.

In the past, Jan shared her time volunteering to call Emergency room patients after a ER visit at St. Vincent Community Hospital to ensure the patient understood all of the information that was provided to them in the ER. Jan estimates she was part of this program for 2 years, but hasn’t been an active volunteer for 6 years or so.

Also many years ago, Jan volunteered for Charities Angels for 6-7 years, where she was part of the sorority fundraiser to raise money to donate to many Madison County charities.


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