Rainy Lake Medical Center

New officers have been selected by members of the Rainy Lake Medical Center Patient and Family Advisory Council, or PFAC.

Eden Jackson, who served as vice chair of the team last year, has been named to chair the PFAC for the coming year. Marilee Simons was chosen by her fellow council members to serve as vice chair.

The PFAC is composed of area residents who received care at RLMC within the past five years and members of their families. The council members assist RLMC administration and the board of trustees in planning changes, working on short-term projects and serving as a liaison to the larger community, among other tasks.

PFAC members attending the April meeting selected Jackson and Simons with a unanimous vote. Carol Schumacher stepped down as chair after a year of  service.

Jackson is an International Falls native and a member of the Falls High School class of 2003. After high school, she attended Rainy River Community College, graduating with an associate of arts degree in 2005, and a licensed practical nurse diploma in 2006. She then attended Lake Superior College, graduating from an associate degree registered nurse program in 2009. Jackson completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Bemidji State University in 2012.

Jackson began working at Boise in 2010, and joined the staff at Rainy Lake Medical Center in 2011 as a casual nurse. After graduating from BSU, she accepted a full-time position with Boise, now Packaging Corporation of America in 2012.

In a news release, Jackson said that in her time as a PFAC member, she was most amazed at the impact that the team has been able to have in patients’ experience at the facility.

“The follow-through by the management and staff to our input has been incredible," she said. "We are so fortunate to have a facility that listens and takes action in response to the feedback we’ve offered. As a result, the changes are tangible.”

In addition, Jackson said her vision as a leader of the RLMC PFAC is to sustain the synergistic relationships which have been created between community members, PFAC members and the facility by keeping the patient as the primary focus of their shared efforts.

“We need to nurture the needs of the staff, family and community members and every other person who walks through the doors to ensure that high-quality health care remains accessible within our community,” she said.

Vice Chair Simons’ interest in Rainy Lake Medical Center was spurred by her household’s extended use of the facility stemming first from an injury suffered by her husband, Dale, in 1978, and then from his protracted illness beginning in 2010, the release said.

“We have very fond memories of the staff in the wellness and therapy department as they would come to our home so that Dale could have his speech and physical therapy following his many strokes,” she said.

Dale passed away in September of 2015.

Simons also is a lifelong resident of International Falls, and a member of the Falls High School class of 1966. She attended Rainy River Junior College before marrying Dale. Together, they had four children, and Simons has nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Simons owned and managed Higher Ground, a Christian bookstore in Shannon Square, with her mother, Edith Byman, for 16 years. She also helped restart the Downtown Business Association. One of the highlights of the year was Ice Box Days: Simons brought the Turkey Bowl to International Falls in the 1990s and it has continued to be a popular game for the winter festivities.

After closing the Christian bookstore in 1999, Simons worked for Joy Travel until its closing in 2003. At that point she became an outside agent for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, out of Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Simons now works as an independent consultant for Travel Leaders, of Maple Grove, Minn. She operates the travel business out of her home.

Looking ahead through 2019 and beyond, Simons said she is optimistic for what lies ahead for RLMC.

“I’m looking forward to the growth of Rainy Lake Medical Center and to seeing what else we can do with the space that we have so that we can better serve our community and help meet the needs of the people," she said.

In addition to Jackson and Simons, PFAC council members are Ellen Hart, of Kabetogama; and Sue Larsen, Sam Bass, Phyllis Karsnia, Carol Schumacher, Daniel Vellieux and Eldon Voigt, all of International Falls.

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