Life is a series of milestones. We spend our time working toward goals or rewarding ourselves for our progress. Some choose to skip a milestone or two due to circumstance or disinterest. Others hit every marker on the road to the American Dream. A few people, like Wendy Nye, are not content with the milestones we have been given and seek to create their own.
November 2016 marks 17 years that Wendy has been on the Obstetrics floor of Franciscan St. Anthony’s Health in Crown Point. It is a proud moment that the hospital chose to recognize, along with the efforts of other loyal staff, with an awards banquet.
In 1999 she signed on as a Unit Clerk. Wendy aspired to be a nurse and her first step was getting her foot in the door of one of the best hospitals in Northwest Indiana.
“Throughout the years,” she said, “I’ve gotten to know people on several floors. We’ve built a family there.”
Wendy’s current role is that of a technician in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She tries not to get too attached to the families that come through her ward but relationships are bound to develop. Sometimes parents send her pictures of the babies once they have left the hospital. Other times the news is sad and they invite her to funerals.
Her proudest moments are “when our 23 weekers reach full term and get to go home. I get to watch them make their milestones.”
Each of their successes is one for her. “It’s all about helping people,” she says. “I care what happens to people.”
For seventeen years she has been taking care of strangers. Her entire life she has been taking care of her family and friends. Wendy’s 15 Years of Service Award is quite an accomplishment but it is only the most recent in a long line.
Wendy grew up with her sister Lisa and their parents in Dolton, Illinois. She was a rebel, and an entrepreneur even as a child: she would climb out of the basement window to sell trinkets that she and her sister made.
They went to Thornridge High School together. Wendy was very involved in athletics, a passion her children would later inherit. She watched them play baseball, softball, basketball, and football, at different times throughout their lives. Just like she did when she was a teenager.
“I love competition, that’s why I love sports,” said the avid Cubs fan. She encouraged her children to play as much as they wanted. “It makes them do better, pushes them to do better. I let them go as far as they wanted to go, no matter how good or bad they were. They were always good in my eyes.”
After graduating from Thornridge Wendy got a job at BoRics hair salon as a stylist. It was a job she could have a lot of fun with and still does for her friends today. When she had her children, she set up her basement with a salon station so she could continue working from home.
“I was always a worker, never stopped working. I always found a way to make money.”
In 1998 Wendy and her family moved to Cedar Lake and have lived around that area ever since. Her sister moved to a neighboring town the year after.
“We wanted to live close together,” Wendy explained, “And keep our kids together. As we raised our children we could always count on each other. She’s my best friend.”
She used to pick up Lisa’s kids from school when they got sick, just as Lisa would do for her if she needed it. The kids sometimes faked a stomach ache or two to get a day off with their Aunt.
Nowadays Wendy takes care of her mother, and her sister. The start of 2016 was traumatic for the family when both women were hospitalized for unrelated incidents. Wendy’s boss was accommodating. She was able to arrange her schedule to be with both women for their surgeries and while they recovered.
“My family comes before anything for me. It’s not an option for me. I have to take care of them because they have always taken care of me.”
They are a tight knit group. Wendy and her mother even run a business together, selling unique items through an Ebay store. They love to treasure hunt. It started as supplemental income but has grown into vacation funds.
As if that, her full time job with St. Anthony’s, and having four children did not keep her occupied enough, Wendy decided to create a third job for herself as the owner of WISH Trucking Company.
WISH, Wendy’s Industrial Steel Hauling, has two trucks so far and plans to get more. She got the idea after seeing the industry through her fiance’s eyes. A truck driver, he worked for a couple different places before joining Wendy’s payroll. The company’s goal is to become certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise so they can be backed by the government and receive more lucrative jobs.
That is a professional milestone Wendy is guaranteed to meet. Her innovation, drive, and positive attitude have given her a series of success stories despite harsh odds and minor set backs. When life closes a door, Wendy builds a new one.