Two women become South Dakota’s first Nurses Honor guard members

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Vanessa Namken and Laura Frankenhoff held their first Nurses Honor Guard ceremony recently and hope to get do many more to celebrate nurses of South Dakota and their families.

There are many Nurses Honor Guards in several states, all with the goal of celebrating the devotion nurses have to their profession.

“I had seen a post on Facebook and after I’d seen the ceremony they went through, I thought that be kind of cool to start that in the state,” said Namken. “So I had dinner with Laura one night, and said I’ve seen this thing on Facebook would you be interested and she was like absolutely.”

The ceremony consists of the lighting of a Nightingale lamp, and the reading of the Nightingale pledge. A white rose is laid on the casket or next to the urn, then once the pledge is done, a last roll call is done for the nurse, while a triangle is rung. After 3 calls the nurse is officially released from her duty and the lamp’s light is extinguished and presented to the nurse’s family.

“It gave the family a chance to see how much that person’s career meant to us and to them, it was just a beautiful way to honor someone who had passed away and be able to give that tribute to their family and their loved ones,” said Frankenhoff.

Namken and Frankenoff had been working on starting the Nurses Honor Guard here in South Dakota, but it was a push from a friend that drove them to do it this year.

“It was in April that our colleague who knew that she was going to pass away, she had cancer and she messaged me on Facebook and said will you please promise me that this will happen at my funeral,” said Frankenhoff.

More information on the Nurses Honor Guard can be found here.

To contact Namken and Frankenhoff about becoming part of the Nurses Honor Guard or to have the ceremony done for you or a loved one email

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