Oklahoma Legislature honors World War II nurse who was trapped behind enemy lines

The 94-year-old honored at the Oklahoma Capitol says she always carried with her extra socks because soldiers during the northern French winters suffered frozen feet. The lipstick she took just ‘being a gal,' she says.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 21, 2013

“Of course, our kids got first go-round,” she said.

“It was very cold,” Stephanic said. “The snow drifts were taller than I — I was almost 5 feet.”

She conceded it was a tense situation.

“But you work hard enough you don't have time to be scared,” Stephanic said.

After the war, she taught practical nursing, and then eventually became a chemistry professor at Oklahoma State University.

She retired in 1990.

Stephanic said she became a resident of the Norman Veterans Center in October 2011.

She said things have been going well for her at the center but “for some of the others not so good.”

“I'm fortunate in the fact that I'm pretty self-sufficient in a lot of ways but we have a lot of people who are not,” she said.

Just as she treated wounded soldiers in the heat of battle nearly 70 years ago, Stephanic continues to look out for others, such as the understaffed, overworked staff at the Norman center.

“For one thing, we need more help,” she said. “For another thing, they need more money because some of them have not had a raise in seven years.”

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I'm fortunate in the fact that I'm pretty self-sufficient in a lot of ways but we have a lot of people who are not.”

Mabel Ruth “Mike” Stephanic,
Stephanic, a resident of the Norman Veterans Center, was recognized at a joint session of the Oklahoma Legislature.

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