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Local DAR member wins national essay contest

FALLBROOK –The Daughters of the American Revolution has awarded its National First Place Women’s Issues Essay Contest to Patricia Joy Smorzewski, RN. Smorzewski is a member of the Monserate Chapter, Fallbrook. Her essay “Accepting” won first place for California, DAR Southwest States, and nationally. A recording of Smorzewski reading her essay will be available to all DAR Chapters.

“Accepting” depicts how a young Smorzewski, after a spinal fusion, is encased in a body cast to address her scoliosis. She gains resolve when a hospital nurse, who understands the importance of self-image for a teenager, tells her, “The cast will come off, and you will go dancing. You’ll come out of this ordeal stronger and have more compassion.”

This early experience prompted her to become a nurse and give back to others the same type of attentive care she received. Still, early on, she encountered a dying patient and questioned if nursing was the right path for her. At this crossroads, several professional women encouraged and guided her. One advised her to think of life as cyclic: “Like a flower, we bud, we bloom, we wither, and then we die," adding that “when you can accept your own death, the better you will be able to assist others during their final days.”

Smorzewski described how “the good death” of an elderly frail man helped her accept her mortality. She tells how he raised his arms to heaven and pleaded, “Please, God, take me. I’m ready;” his death without fear brought her awe and peace. It also propelled her on a four-decade-long career that culminated in her role as the West Coast Regional Director of Home Health and Hospice. Throughout her calling, women gave her their time, energy, and support. In return, she continues to mentor, encourage and listen to other women in her field.

Smorzewski, raised in New Jersey, still has an accent after living half her life in Fallbrook. She has raised three sons with her husband, Gary, while working as a registered nurse. Semi-retired now, she enjoys writing, hiking, films, reading, and traveling.

Anyone who would like to find out if they qualify for membership in DAR, they can email Suzanne Lemoine at [email protected].

Submitted by Daughters of the American Revolution Monserate Chapter.


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