Gering, NE: Heritage Estates Has a Whole Lot of Heart

Teammates and residents at Heritage Estates in Gering, NE epitomize Vetter Health Service’s tradition of “Family Serving Family.”

On May 23, 2015, RN Laura Clements gave birth to her daughter Tessa who was born with a congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. Tessa’s diagnosis was made before she was born, and in order to save her life, she underwent open-heart surgery in Denver, CO at just five days old to fix the heart defect. After 33 days in the hospital, Laura and her husband Andrew were able to take Tessa home to Gering.

At four-months-old during a routine cardiology visit in Denver, Tessa’s open-heart procedure was discovered to have had a major complication which required a second open-heart surgery on October 2, 2015 to fix it. Tessa stayed another 10 days in the hospital in Denver before going home again to Gering.

Today, Tessa is five months old and is a perfectly happy baby, meeting all of her milestones and growing like a weed. The only thing that suggests Tessa’s struggle to survive is a scar down the middle of her chest. Throughout Tessa’s fight to save her heart, everyone at Heritage Estates chipped in to show support for Tessa and her family. First, teammates Michelle Zwetzig, Tami King, and Nichelle Todd, along with many others, threw a bake sale and Sloppy Joe fundraiser for the Clements family. Then, teammates Hillary Sierra and Victoria Hernandez designed and sold “Tessa” t-shirts to help donate toward her medical bills. Teammate and “adopted” grandma to Tessa, Angi Refice, managed a fundraising campaign through “GoFundMe.” To top it off, teammate Kim Johns organized a card party fundraiser with the Cottage residents at Heritage Estates, again to help support Tessa and her family.

The old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” definitely rings true in this instance. Tessa’s situation struck a chord with many people in the Heritage Estates community. Undoubtedly, the hardships the Clements family endured would have been doubled without the overwhelming support and love from everyone at Heritage Estates, and Tessa is thriving due in part to everyone at Heritage Estates. On November 6, 2015, Laura and Tessa thanked everyone at Heritage Estates by serving everyone root beer floats in the ice cream parlor.

Serving-We succeed by focusing our attention and energies on anticipating and exceeding people’s expectations. Our actions are driven by a “Yes, I Can” attitude and the commitment that we are “Family Serving Family.”

Submitted by Laura Clements, RN
Heritage Estates, Gering, NE