For more than 100 years, Voiture 40 & 8 has helped fund the training of nurses across the country. Omaha’s 206, 40 & 8 Car Section recently donated $50,000 to Midland University’s School of Nursing to support the next generation of nurses.
Car 40 & 8 was established in 1920 by American Legionnaires as an honor society, and from its inception has been committed to charitable purposes. Membership is by invitation for members of the American Legion who have demonstrated exemplary service. All 40 and 8 members are thus wartime veterans recognized by Congress through their Legion membership. The organization’s titles and symbols reflect its World War I origins. American servicemen in France were transported to the battlefront on French railroads and inside boxcars (called Voitures) that were half the size of American boxcars. Each French boxcar was marked with a “40/8”, indicating its capacity to hold forty men or eight horses.
The organization has been involved in many charitable endeavors over the years, including supporting the training of nurses who provided care to service members and veterans in wartime and peacetime. James Miller, who is a correspondent/commissioner steward for Car 20, said the military has long relied on nurses’ care and wants to make sure that continues in the future. “Having students train to be a qualified nurse just makes so much sense,” Miller said. “We are looking for future service members.”
Dr. Linda Quinn, dean of the College of Health Professions, said the funds will be used to upgrade the Fremont Hall nursing lab. Equipment purchased will include updated technology currently used in active practice settings. Items include an additional Gaumard manikin, allowing students to practice identifying sounds and heart rhythms, intravenous pumps, hospital beds, and several new wheelchairs. “It’s an incredible gift that we can use with every nursing student. The technology and equipment upgrades will support the preparation of nursing students in a realistic patient care setting,” says Quinn.
Midland is one of several Nebraska institutions to receive funding from Car 206.” James Miller contacted us through a former faculty member (Jean Goble), and faculty and staff coordinated and started making a shopping list,” Quinn said. “This money will not only be used to upgrade equipment, but also to prepare nurses with the skills needed for their future practice,”
Miller has a long tradition with the military in his family. He served three tours of duty in the Vietnam War, his father served in World War II, and his brother served in the Nebraska National Guard for 38 years. He is grateful to be part of an organization that has worked hard to serve others throughout its existence. “This club has surrounded me with a group of people who know what it means to be committed to serving their country and their community,” he said. “You can’t ask for more from your peers.”
Quinn said she and all of her faculty and staff are grateful for Car 206’s contributions and what it will mean for current and future nursing students. “We have tremendous gratitude to Voiture for their generosity,” Quinn said. “Every nursing student will benefit from this donation.