A LEGACY OF CARING: FOUR GENERATIONS OF HEALTHCARE GIVE BACK TO THE LEWISTOWN AREA

Meet the remarkable Cynthia, Misty, Jaimie and Lexie, who have collectively devoted their lives to healthcare in the Lewistown area. What an inspirational story!

First generation: Volunteer Cynthia McKinley

The matriarch of this extraordinary family is great-grandmother Cynthia McKinley. When she retired in 2004, she needed something to fill her days. So, for the past two decades, Cynthia has volunteered her time, compassion and support to those in need. She began in the Geisinger Lewistown Hospital emergency room and helped at the main entrance the outpatient surgery department as well. Then Cynthia began volunteering at the Fresh Food Farmacy, and has been there ever since.

“Starting from something just to fill my day and relieve boredom, I have found I really enjoy volunteering. I feel like I am doing something worthwhile,” Cynthia says. In touching countless lives, she’s become a valuable asset to Geisinger.

For Cynthia, having nurses as family members has its perks. “Last October, I had an accident with my right hand,” she says. “My dressings had to be changed daily. Even my granddaughter, who was a nursing student at the time, used me to practice on. I was so thankful they were there and knew what to do, because I didn’t. I appreciated their care.”

Second generation: Home health RN Misty Horan

In the next generation of this Geisinger family is Cynthia’s daughter, Misty Horan, who chose nursing as her career path. She began as a certified nursing assistant and later became a licensed practical nurse at a local nursing home. After furthering her education, she’s now a registered nurse (RN) working for Geisinger Home Health — as well as chief deputy coroner of the Mifflin County Coroner’s Office.

“My father was an emergency medical technician when I was younger, and he used to take me along with him on ambulance calls. That drew me to the healthcare field,” Misty says. “My dad was one of the first EMTs in Mifflin County. When I was a very young girl, he’d take me along in the front of the ambulance and tell me to sit there and not touch anything!”

She appreciates the encouragement from her other family members in healthcare, too. “The great thing about the four of us being together in healthcare is the bond and the support we have for each other,” Misty says. “If one of us has a bad day, the others are there for them to talk about it.”

Beyond that, she adds, “I’m proud to serve in healthcare because of the difference I can make in somebody’s life. I can be a bright spot in their bad day.”

Third generation: Inpatient RN Jaimie Smith

Misty’s daughter, Jaimie Smith, takes after her mom. This inpatient RN at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital says “helping and caring for others and making a difference in someone’s life” attracted her to nursing, adding, “I enjoy helping those in need and I enjoy seeing people get better.”

Jaimie, who’s pursuing a degree as a family nurse practitioner, is proud of her close-knit family and their chosen paths. “It’s special that the four of us are in healthcare because we enjoy caring for and helping others,” she says. “We work in different roles — this lets us serve a variety of patients.”

Fourth generation: Graduate RN Lexie Kuhns

Alexis “Lexie” Kuhns is Jaimie’s daughter, Misty’s granddaughter and Cynthia’s great-granddaughter — and the latest to start down the healthcare path. Lexie started as a patient care technician at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital and, as a recent graduate of Geisinger School of Nursing, will soon hold an RN role there.

She credits her family with getting her where she is today. “They have continuously supported me throughout my journey in every way possible,” she says. “My mom is my biggest motivator. On hard days, she always knows exactly what to say.”

Why nursing? No other career would be as rewarding as helping others when they can’t help themselves, Lexie says. “I can make a difference in somebody’s life and help them on their journey to recovery. Seeing patients go from being extremely sick to walking around the nurses’ station makes you proud to be part of the team that provided the care to get them there.”

The story of Cynthia, Misty, Jaimie and Lexie is a testament to a shared passion for healthcare. Through four generations, they’ve offered comfort, healing and hope to those who need it — a legacy any family would cherish.

For more stories of local interest, click here.

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