That’s her.  The short, blond one wearing a flight suit in the helicopter.  She’s a medical flight nurse and she’s my daughter.  She turned 30 today.  How she got there?  Here it is:


Flight Nurse Heidi

April 22, 1985 – 25 hours of labor and a caesarean birth – no kidding!   The doc did all the necessary incisions then grabbed Heidi by the back of her neck and sat her up right inside her mother.  Bingo!  A daughter!

Following that came a good deal of adoration from the extended family over her blond curly locks and cute apple cheeks.  Heidi was a good baby.  She grew and started interacting with everyone, friendly and full of joy.  Her hair went all Shirley Temple on her at the age of two, giving her natural ringlets of blond that flopped and bounced as she toddled her way across the room or out in the yard.


Nothing but Shirley Temple Talent

She always wanted to go to school.  When she turned five, she thought that on that very first day of being five (April 22, 1990) that she would wake up, get dressed and report to her classroom and get busy.  When her mom informed her that no, she’d have to wait until fall, Heidi became angry at such news.  She stomped her way through the house and to daycare, but none too happy about it.  As an academic student, Heidi studied hard and got herself some good grades – and she was even proud of the not so good, because she worked hard at such classes as those advanced placement level courses that found her breaking her butt over writing papers and reading textbooks with quite an advanced vocabulary.

She was always active musically.  The first we really saw of this was back in that Shirley Temple era again, when she could sing for memory the entire ‘PERFECT NANNY’ song from Mary Poppins.  We have her on video, singing the whole thing a capella and screwing up some of the words in a cute way that only a girl of her age could do.  She did piano lessons with our favorite teacher Cleo.  In fifth grade, she started on the flute and then advanced to the oboe.  She sang in the small groups at church (where her mom introduced her Sunday school gang to “JUMPIN’ UP AND DOWN SING HOSANNA to them – and they still sing that song for every Palm Sunday since…) and she sang in elementary choirs, in the middle school choirs, and then in the very elegant and wonderful high school choir – I still listen to the recording of them singing LUX ARUMQUE, which contains one high note from a single soprano right near the beginning of the piece – and that’s Heidi’s clear, high voice ringing out the note.

Then there were the tennis years in high school.  She became known for her tennis tenacity, often taking her matches and her opponents into extra sets – one match  in particular found the coach turning the lights on over the court where Heidi and her foe were engaged in quite the match.  I don’t remember if she won that one, but it was so typical of her to keep at it and keep at it.  Heidi pursued tennis a bit more than her high school team work – she spent a couple of summers down at Gustavus Adolphus college as a camper in the TENNIS AND LIFE camp, led by then Gustie tennis coach Steve Wilkenson – and she thoroughly enjoyed those weeks.


Heidi Johnson Woerheide

The college years were spent in Duluth, Minnesota at St. Scholastica, where Heidi earned her degree as a registered nurse – and that choice came as a true ‘ah ha’ moment in her life.  Prior to applying to college, Heidi checked out several schools, but it wasn’t until a career day at St. Scholastica that Heidi felt the concept  of nursing jump into her mind in such a way that she never let go.  There were presentations by professors and some tours of hospitals – the clincher being the roof of St. Mary’s hospital, where she was given a tour of the helicopter and learned what it takes for a nurse on such an assignment.  Out went any other plans: Heidi applied to St. Scholastica and earned her degree with super grades and with lots of work, playing tennis for the college on the way.

Upon graduation, Heidi began work at a hospital in Duluth in the emergency room – where she is superbly fit to work, what with her ability to think quickly and make decisions in high pressure moments.

Up to now, Heidi was never much for boys.  She dated one guy for a short period after college, but then she met Jon Woerheide – a young man from Lutsen who had just signed up for the army, where he was to become a helicopter pilot.  She followed him to Alabama for his army training, (where the weather was hot when we went down for his graduation) – and then Heidi and Jon got married.  They now live in upstate New York, where he serves at Fort Drum and she – as could be expected by her past experience –  is a flight nurse on helicopters.  She and Jon have a nice country home, a few fine dogs, and enjoy being each other’s best friend.  They work hard, they play hard (scuba, motorcycles, camping and so much more) – and they have a glowing future together.


Heidi and Jon

If a dad can get personal and put it in first person, let me put this down:

Happy Birthday, kiddo.  You’re wonderful.  You are a good daughter, a good sister (younger brother Steven loves you, too.), a good wife, and a good nurse.  Luvya.


Heidi, Dad, Mom, Steven – the family