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Remarkable Woman: Trisha Brinkley is her central Illinois school district’s only nurse

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CHRISMAN, Ill. (WCIA) — March is International Women’s Month, and to celebrate, we will be sharing the stories of remarkable women throughout central Illinois.

Trisha Brinkley is no stranger to taking care of others in her hometown.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse.”

She currently works at the Chrisman School District as the school’s only nurse. And why not, she attended and graduated from there – her own children have as well.

“I have a lot of memories here from my childhood and and my children and maybe my grandchildren one day.”

This year is like no other.

“My routine has definitely changed. It’s COVID-19 focused. Just constantly trying to stay on top of our cases and contact tracing anyone that needs to be quarantined, or isolated.”

Meghan Humer works a couple of doors down. She says Brinkley would give anyone the shirt of her back.

“She has been working weekends, holidays, late hours, just to make sure that we’re following all of our guidelines that we need to be and it has shown and it has been amazing,” says Humer.

Working in a school gives Brinkley a first hand look –

“If I wasn’t here at the school, I probably wouldn’t see the needs that our community has.”

Which is why she started the ‘Backpack Program.’

“Back in 2013. We’ve been back in school about a month and one of the cooks mentioned to me that she had noticed a lot of the students were complaining about being hungry on Mondays when they came back.”

So she stepped in to make sure no student would go hungry.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. And you know, I never was aware that we had people growing up hungry.”

Each month, Brinkley also runs a food pantry for everyone in the community.

“She is the force behind this,” says Volunteer Kelly David. “She makes this happen. Without her, it wouldn’t be anything like what it is.”

“Just to see the difference and to know that we helped. We’re up to 75 families a month that we’re helping in our community,” says Brinkley.

But she says she couldn’t do it without the help and support of her community.

“I’m just thankful that I’ve been put in a job that I can see the needs of our community and be able to meet those the best that we can.”

Brinkley has 3 sons and 3 grandsons. She says being a grandma is her favorite job outside of school.

Check out some photos she shared with us:

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