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Carol Bickett DeGraw was inducted into the Dunklin County Library Hall of Honor on Oct. 17 in Kennett, Mo. She is the daughter of the late Patrick Bickett and Mabel Bickett Neat of Vine Grove.
To be considered for induction into the Hall of Honor, individuals must be or have been citizens of Dunklin County and have distinguished themselves within their occupation, trade or field of endeavor through intellectual, creative, humanitarian and professional accomplishment.
DeGraw was honored for her lifetime of serving others in Dunklin County, primarily through the Visiting Nurse Association.
She attended St. Brigid and Vine Grove high schools and graduated from the nursing program at Arkansas State University in 1973. She then began working for the Dunklin County Health Department in the Rural Home Care Program.
She began her career as a registered nurse with the Visiting Nurse Association in February, 1975. She was instrumental in taking the fledgling agency with a staff of six nurses to a full service agency with a staff of more than 600. Her dedication to her patients and love of the community were the basic reasons for the success of the company.
McGraw spearheaded a radio program titled “VNA Answer Nurse,” using her own time to research topics for discussion. She became something of a celebrity in Southeast Missouri as thousands of people listened to her each day and came to know her voice as the “Answer Nurse.”
DeGraw says the most cherished time in her career was when she has been privileged to be by the bedside of a patient during their last days of life. She has trained others in the grief process as well, helping people understand that it is a painful but normal process.
Church has been a vital part of her life, and she has been on mission trips to Albania, Peru and other places. She has six children and eight grandchildren. Her co-workers refer to her as the VNA Queen.