Healthcare Hero: Mandan refinery nurse makes mission trips to serve others

Community News

Mandan Refinery nurse holding baby

Val McGee, BSN, RN, loves her job as the occupation health nurse at the Mandan refinery. She helps with new hire physicals, employee medical issues, runs the wellness program and collaborates with Safety and HR. This year, she wanted to use her nursing skills for something outside of work. She used her vacation time to take two mission trips to serve others, and she was surprised to find that the company helped double her efforts.

Her first mission trip was to Guatemala with a group of nurses from her community in North Dakota. They spent 12 days working in a malnutrition hospital and helping build a house for a family.

“I had never seen a starving infant before or any patient who had hunger issues. These children are born in such poverty that they struggle from birth,” said McGee. “We spent time feeding the children, helping their mother’s, and training some nursing students at the school. It was definitely a moving experience for me.”

McGee shared that she also met the child she has been sponsoring through The God’s Child Project for several years. The non-profit organization works to break the chains of poverty through education and support.

“I was able to see boots on the ground what a little donation can do,” said McGee. “And I was able to take advantage of the Marathon matching gifts program. I logged my volunteer hours and donations, and the company comes in behind me and doubles it. That’s so life-changing for some people in need.”

In August, the nurse went with a friend on a mission trip to Mexico to serve at a migrant camp and visit orphanages in Ensenada, south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula. She said it was heartbreaking to see so many people living in harsh conditions. When she returned home, she was overwhelmed with feelings of gratefulness for her own life. She was reminded not to take for granted having running water or a cabinet full of medicine

Her family is proud of her for the volunteer work she is doing. Now McGee is passionate about making more medical missions to other parts of the world, and she encourages her co-workers and friends to find ways they can give back to their communities.

“I really think everyone could do an internet search to find a charity they could be passionate about. There are so many organizations who are doing important work for others,” said McGee.