May 2023 marks the one-year anniversary since a local caregiver became the recipient of those same traits.
Melanie Lehman of Montpelier has demonstrated care, mercy, and grace to Williams County area citizens for the past 20 years.
Melanie left the place of employment where she had worked for over fourteen years and sought another avenue to pursue in search of helping others.
Equipped with a cheerful spirit, caring heart, smile, and an occasional giggle or two, Melanie started on her path to providing care to those in need.
Melanie’s mother Zildred (Zee) Breininger was providing care for a Bryan-area couple and additional helpers were needed. Zee invited Melanie to join the “care team” and she was bitten by the bug.
Over the past 20 years, Melanie has provided care for many elderly area citizens. Between reading, researching, self-study, and asking questions from friends who professionals in the healthcare field are, Melanie has honed her God given talents and instincts to the point of being able to know what each person needs as well as being able to provide insight and guidance to the loved ones of those whom she serves.
In addition to the caring heart, smile, and giggle, is also blessed with a beautiful singing voice. She has witnessed the soothing and calming powers of song when comforting those whom she has served that have dealt with memory loss issues, or those nearing the end of life on this earth.
Melanie’s strong faith and belief in God and her Savior Jesus Christ is demonstrated and witnessed through her service for others.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, both Melanie’s faith and mettle as her service in caregiving came full circle. Among the many loving souls that she has served, two of the closest were her parents, Henry (Hank) and Zee Breininger.
Zee suffered a massive, and life-threatening stroke in August 2020. In January 2021 Zee suffered a fractured hip due to a fall and underwent hip replacement surgery.
Melanie was quick to respond to the caregiving needs of her parents. While tending to her mother’s care, her father was diagnosed in July 2021 with Stage 4 lung cancer, and he passed from this life within two weeks.
Melanie, along with a group of her friends, provided around the clock care for her parents. Melanie was forced to take a hiatus extending several weeks due to experiencing major complications due to COVID.
Her friends then helped take care of her by bringing meals, groceries, and lots of love. Being that her constitution, will, and most importantly her faith, were stronger than steel, Melanie won a hard-fought battle, springing back more determined than ever. Within five months, both of her parents went home to be with their Heavenly Father.
In May of last year, Melanie experienced yet another health setback. She was plagued with a massive kidney stone which led to a near fatal case of uric sepsis.
Again, putting her faith and mettle to the test, Melanie fought back harder and stronger than ever. Upon spending a week in Parkview hospital North (two and a half of those days in Intensive Care) she got back home tougher, stronger, more determined, and most importantly more appreciative, thankful, and understanding than ever before.
Melanie has an even stronger passion to serve, honor and praise, and glorify God! Melanie also credits the Emergency Room physician and medical staff at the Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers – Bryan for their quick action, kindness, skill, knowledge, and talent which she knows was vital in saving her life.
Melanie holds a special place in her heart for Eric McClaine and Amy Baker of the Williams County Emergency Medical Service as they were the Technicians who safely transported her from Bryan to Ft. Wayne. They provided a safe and smooth ride, while keeping her calm and comfortable.
Melanie and her husband Jeff realize that all too frequently law enforcement and the fire service are quick to receive praise and gestures of appreciation for their service.
Melanie wanted to do something special for the Williams County Emergency Medical Service, all too often “unsung heroes.”
After prayer and pondering, and a bit of insight from Jeff, Melanie decided that since the EMS is a “round the clock”, (24/7/365) operation, they would purchase brand new reclining chairs for their sub-station located at the Williams County Fairgrounds.
The chairs that were selected were the largest, tallest, and most sturdy they could find. They are the “WARRIOR FORTRESS” and each have a full 100% guarantee which also covers tears, snags, and cuts.
Melanie and Jeff continue to be deeply appreciative of the quality of emergency services with Williams County. They shout out a deafening “THANK YOU!!!” to the crew of the Williams County Emergency Medical Service.