The late Kate Ireland first served as a courier for the Frontier Nursing Service in the 1950s, following a family tradition of helping FNS. Her grandmother was a donor and her mother was chairman of the Cleveland, Ohio committee. Kate’s sister also served as a courier. In Miss Ireland’s biography, “Full Speed Ahead: With a Twinkle in Her Eye,” she surmises that “Going to Kentucky had always been in the cards for me.”
Ms. Ireland served as courier during the summers of 1951-1954 and as a part-time courier from 1959-1960. She volunteered as Director of Volunteers for FNS from 1961-1975. She was elected to the FNS Board of Governors in 1963 and served in various capacities on the Board until her death. In 1967, Ms. Ireland was named Chairman of the Development Committee; in 1968, she was elected Vice Chairman; and in 1975, elected National Chairman of the Board of Governors, a post she held until 1992. In 1997 she was named National Honorary Chairman.
One of Miss Ireland’s many accomplishments is the creation of the Community-Based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program in 1989 with Kitty Ernst and Ruth Beeman. The Kate Ireland Scholarship, endowed by Ms. Ireland, continues to award scholarships to students annually. In 2014, Ms. Ireland was posthumously awarded the first ever “Unbridled Spirit” award.