At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community who are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
In 1928, Mary Breckinridge, founder of Frontier Nursing University established the Courier Program, recruiting young people to work in the Kentucky Mountains and learn about service to humanity. Couriers escorted guests safely through remote terrain, delivered medical supplies to remote outpost clinics, and helped nurse-midwives during home visits and births. Frontier has benefited tremendously from the 1,600 Couriers who have served since 1928.
Fred Bunch Jordan attended college right after high school. After a difficult freshman year, he decided to take some time off from school and spoke with an advisor regarding his options during his time off. His advisor suggested looking into the Courier Program at Frontier Nursing Service. Only four days passed from the time he called Frontier to the day he arrived in Kentucky.
Fred first served as a Courier for three and a half months in 1990. Fred then made the decision to return to Wendover once again for another four months in 1991.
Fred spent his time as a Courier attending home health visits. He remembers visiting three brothers with Down Syndrome and helping the boys shave and feed their livestock.
In addition to home visits, Fred spent time in the Mary Breckinridge Hospital. He worked with a family nurse practitioner assisting with entry-level triage care, such as taking temperatures and blood pressures.
During his free time, Fred visited with the local Wooten family, where he drank a little bit of moonshine and ate a lot of fried fish. To get to the Wooten house, Fred had to walk across a small handmade bridge to arrive at the front door where there was a Moody’s Bible nailed over the top. Fred accompanied George Wooten fishing and on a visit to a mine, which Fred admits frightened him a bit.
One of Fred’s most eye-opening experiences came on a home health visit in Cutshin. It was on this visit that it dawned on him that his life back home – where he has the opportunity to go to college, the ability to travel and never goes hungry – was a privilege. According to Fred, this realization was very humbling for him. He also began to understand the economic difficulties that the Hyden area faced. Other than coal, job options were limited.
Fred was happy to be in Wendover, and he felt like he had accomplished what he came for. He had the opportunity to experience a culture different from his own and do something worthwhile. His time as a Courier inspired him to take a deeper look at it his life and evaluate what was important to him. It was an illuminating experience that he will always carry with him.