One F.I.N.E. Day Presents Reading to Doris: 700 Letters from WWII
September 27, 2010
One F.I.N.E. Day Presents Reading to Doris: 700 Letters from WWIISidney Health Center and the Richland County Health Department are sponsoring a free event for men and women who would enjoy a day of fun, information, nutrition and exercise on Wednesday, October 6. One F.I.N.E. Day will be held at the Community Services Building located at 1201 W. Holly St. in Sidney starting at 8:30 a.m.

One highlight of the agenda includes a presentation entitled “Reading to Doris: 700 Letters from WWII” by guest speaker, Monica Trimble a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missoula.

In April of 1942 Doris was the 19 year old organist at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Otis Bendickson sang in the choir. Two weeks before Otis enlisted in the Army he and Doris were married. He left Missoula on the train and was gone to war for the next 3½ years. Doris saved the more than 700 letters Otis wrote to her during his time away.

Monica Trimble spent 5 years reading those letters to Doris, who had suffered a severe stroke and couldn’t focus well enough to read. While reading to Doris, Monica learned about Missoula in the 1940s, about the importance of mail during the war and about the incredible faith of these two young people. Trimble’s presentation is about her experience.

Doris and her family generously shared her story and many pictures from her life with Trimble. Examples of the “real letters” and the “V-mail letters” are in the presentation and available to see. Trimble said, “I didn’t start out knowing there were over 700 letters. I just started reading the first few letters and then I was hooked.”

Since Trimble and Doris both lived in the Rattlesnake area, Monica was able to read to Doris for an hour almost every week. Reading the letters gave Doris an opportunity to escape from the sadness of her current disability, re-live the exciting years of WWII and to hear the loving words of her husband.

Trimble and Doris developed a close and supportive friendship. During the years Monica was reading the letters, Doris loved to be a guest speaker in the classes Trimble taught at the University of Montana. Doris was very open about the loss and grief in her life. Her father died when she was 12 and her husband who was her caregiver died in 2002.

Trimble currently works in the Home and Community Based Services program that provides case management for people with physical disabilities. Monica has also been adjunct faculty at The University of Montana School of Social Work. She has worked in Hospices and specializes in bereavement counseling. Monica is on the board of directors for Tamarack Grief Resource Center. Monica said she, “was delighted to be invited to One Fine Day so that I can share Doris’ story and finally see the Northeastern part of Montana.”

In addition to Trimble’s presentation, there will also be a question and answer session entitled “Jumping through the Hoops of Financial Planning for the Golden Years” starting at approximately 11:00 a.m. This session will feature a panel of individuals including an accountant, attorney, and representatives from Medicaid, Fulkerson Funeral Home and Action for Eastern Montana. The panel will answer questions ranging from Medicare and Medicaid coverage to long term care insurance to reverse mortgage.

Immediately following the panel, attendees are invited to participate in a fun poker run and enjoy a progressive lunch at The Lodge, Sidney Health Center Extended Care and Crestwood. There will be a $100 cash prize for the winning poker hand.

Free transportation in Sidney is being provided by Richland County Transportation for those attending the One F.I.N.E. Day event. To sign-up for a ride please call 433-RIDE. For more information about One F.I.N.E. Day, please contact Sidney Health Center Extended Care Activities Director at (406) 488-2338.