Grief Care Coordinator
Elaine has been working with families at Vertin-Munson since 1999. She is a graduate of Hillsboro High School, the University of Minnesota-Moorhead, and North Dakota State University. Elaine retired in May, 2007, after 34 years of teaching. Elaine has been interested in counseling for most of her teaching career, having written grants to acquire training in the field for teachers to use in their own classrooms. She later went on to gain a master's degree in counseling in 1994 and was licensed as a counselor in North Dakota in 1995. Having experienced many losses in her own life, working in the funeral service industry was a natural progression for her.
What Elaine likes best about her position is meeting so many wonderful families and sharing their grief as she gets to know them. She does much of her aftercare work by phone and written correspondence, but loves meeting with family members for coffee and making home visits, including visits to nursing homes, where a surviving spouse or parent may reside.
Elaine states, "Families are so grateful for the smallest kindness at this very difficult time, which makes my work very gratifying. I never want to intrude on family's privacy, so I take the time to provide a level of support that the family wishes, and that may be purely social or none at all".
Elaine believes education in the grief process is also very important, as just knowing what's `normal' when grieving is such a reassurance to a surviving loved one.
Elaine has also worked part-time as an addiction counselor, and has been doing volunteer crisis counseling in the areas of domestic violence and sexual assault for Three Rivers Crisis Center since 1995.
Elaine and her husband Terry live in Wahpeton, where they are active members of St. John's Catholic Church. She enjoys yard work and gardening, walking outdoors, reading, continuing education, and traveling. She has been a member of several teaching and counseling organizations over the years.