Tag Archives: Visiting Nurse Association

Welder, Painter, Glass Blower

January 2, 2020 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“Getting 50 artists to agree on anything is like herding cats,” said artist John Prouty.

Rose Rutherford is an expert at getting artists to agree—she’s even able to get them to agree to a reduced rate for themselves.

Rutherford is not a sales shark, not in any sense of the word. She’s known throughout the community as a kind, enthusiastic art lover. She’s the artist chair for the Visiting Nurse Association’s fundraiser, Art+Soup, where area artists sell a variety of original art. Rutherford, who has worked in the medical field (she has Emergency Medical Technician training) was sought out 12 years ago by a friend who was on the committee.

Rutherford proved to have a winning skillset for this event. Along with having medical training, she devotes her time to art. She previously worked in mixed media, but focuses now on jewelry made with natural gemstones.

Carole Patrick, vice president of Development and Communications at VNA, attributes Rutherford as being a huge part of the success of Art+Soup. “Being an artist herself, along with her medical background, she is the perfect person to lead our event. We are thrilled with her strong commitment and of course her expertise in the art field. In fact, if I had to write a job description of a volunteer to lead an event, I couldn’t come up with a better example than Rose.”

It’s a big responsibility with a discerning audience. The event boasts dedicated attendees who’ve never missed it. “Some have had to be plowed out of a snowstorm to get here,” Patrick said. “We have over 1,000 people walking through our doors every year,” she points out, “so it’s a tremendous opportunity for [the artists] to market themselves.”

Rutherford has been artist chair for the past five years. Her responsibilities include making sure there’s a good mix of art in price range and medium, coordinating the judges, determining artist placement on the floor, and managing art sales with coordinating VNA employees.

The event takes a year to organize. “We start working on next year’s event as soon as the current one is over,” Rutherford said.

The 2018 event garnered $148,500 for the organization. All money raised from the event goes to support VNA’s Shelter Program, which is part of their large nonprofit sector. “We’ve been able to put a nurse in every shelter in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area,” Patrick said proudly, continuing that Rutherford is also enthusiastic about the cause.

The artwork process begins with a call for entries several months in advance, and it’s a prestigious honor to be shown at the event. In order to ensure a wide range of art, new artists make up about half of the chosen entrants, and some top-selling artists from previous years are asked to resubmit their work. Well-known local artists such as Thomas Mangelsen have also exhibited at the event. Artists must send in three to five images, the size, and the retail price of each piece they wish to submit.

Submitted images are voted on in a blind jury by two professional artists from Joslyn Art Museum, only bringing in Rutherford in case of a tie. “We usually limit our selected pieces to about 50,” she added, “or it gets too crowded.”

Some artists want to be in the event, but don’t make it because their art isn’t as desirable to the patrons.

“That’s a hard thing to do,” said Prouty, a longtime friend of Rutherford’s as well as a former VNA board member. “To tell someone, your stuff is lovely but it didn’t sell.”

Once the pieces are selected, Rutherford communicates with the artists to keep everyone interested in being in the show. Each artist who shows must donate a minimum of 50 percent of the selling price of their artwork to VNA.

“When she’s talking to artists and she’s telling them that they will donate half the proceeds, it’s not always an easy sale,” Patrick said. “But that really is a driving force of the success of this fundraiser.”

Rutherford is often able to motivate people to be a part of the group by acting as an unofficial cheerleader for VNA, sometimes calling people personally if they don’t respond to her to make sure they are still interested. She also works with some artists to make sure their prices are on point. She might suggest a higher price to a younger artist who doesn’t understand the value of their supplies, or suggest a lower price to someone who has overestimated the amount people are willing to pay for an item. That comes from the 12 years of experience working with Art + Soup.

Artist placement on the floor is important, she said. “We always mix the mediums up, so the display is varied and pleasing to the eye,” Rutherford said.

Prouty said Rutherford also does an excellent job with arranging the floor displays. “Someone has to have the corner table. Rose gets some of the kickback from that.”

In one instance, he explained that an artist a few years back did not like her spot and claimed she wasn’t ever going to come back. Due to Rutherford’s enthusiasm for the event and people skills, the artist came back the next year.

Floor placement involves more than making sure the display is varied. Prouty, for example, is a welder, and wants to be placed close to another welder, a friend of his who often shows at the event, so they can share an assistant.

The two welders would likely be located next to different artists, but their areas will be back-to-back. It is important to keep the art mixed on the floor so everyone has something interesting to view.

“If you have jewelry, for example, and you had a bunch of jewelry all in one spot, a lady might want to look at the jewelry while her spouse would want to hurry her along,” Prouty said. “You want to have something nearby for the spouse to look at, too.”

Add to this the fact that anyone who has gotten an award the previous year gets a prime location in the center of the room the following year. “It’s our way to recognize his or her talent,” Rutherford explained.

Then there are personality conflicts.

Rose tries to keep everyone happy. She knows the artists well enough to know which two not to put next to one another and which to put together. It’s a giant abstract jigsaw puzzle with corner pieces consisting of large, freestanding artwork (often sculptures) and few edge pieces.

She also communicates with the hotel staff in regard to the art, making sure they are within the boundaries of what they can and cannot do at the show.

The day before the show, Rutherford becomes the floor director, straightening out where the artwork is set up and taking care of the artists’ needs.

“Everyone wants to get in at the last minute,” Prouty said. “That’s handled very well. Here’s all these trucks and vans coming in. They have it set up where freestanding stuff comes in through the back door.”

By the time the event comes around, Rose’s hard work has paid off.

“As I walk around the day of and thank them all for being there, they talk about Rose and her excitement,” Patrick said. “They talk about how she takes care of them. Because she’s one of them, she knows their needs. She has the respect of these artists who have joined the cause for that.”

Rutherford likely isn’t around to hear that. She’s still making sure everyone is OK.

“She’s so happy and smiley, but she’s just running,” Prouty said. “Sometimes she’ll come over to me and say, ‘I’ve got to get out of these heels,’ and I will say, ‘well, go sit down, Rose.’”

Eventually, she listens. But not before she is sure she is not needed somewhere by an artist. In the end, Rutherford even helps arrange the details of a sale.

“The artists don’t sell their own work, so we handle all the paperwork when a piece is sold,” she explained.

Although Rutherford puts in a lot of work, it is a labor of love. “The reason I am excited that she’s there, she…has this passion and chooses high-quality art for the event,” Patrick said.

VNA’s 2020 Art+Soup gala will be held on Sunday, Feb. 23, at Embassy Suites in La Vista.


Visit VNAtoday.org/artandsoup for more information and to purchase tickets.

This article was printed in the January/February 2020 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Rose Rutherford

James Summerfelt

April 7, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

VNA believes everyone deserves the best care, kindness, and to feel better at home. “We provide expert, compassionate care to individuals at home and across the community,” explains James Summerfelt, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). “Thanks to the ongoing support of our community, we are able to make this care assessable to all. We don’t turn anyone away due to their age, station in life or available resources.”

For more than a century, VNA has helped build a stronger, healthier community by providing timely solutions around the health issues of the day. As health care evolves, VNA’s expertise and vision have become especially relevant. VNA’s trusted quality of care and industry-leading outcomes have made us the provider of choice among Omaha and Council Bluffs area physicians and families. 

“We’re leveraging 120 years of experience to shape tomorrow’s care,” says Summerfelt. “It is our honor to be the first choice for in-home care.” VNA’s team of professionals is committed to providing clients with personalized, innovative care to help them live healthy, safe, and independent lives. 


Visiting Nurse Association (VNA)
12565 W. Center Road, Suite 100
Omaha, NE 68144
402.930.4018
vnatoday.org

This sponsored content appeared in Faces of Omaha 2018. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/faces_2018/100

2018 January/February Giving Events

December 27, 2017 by
Photography by Contributed

Featured Event:
Feb. 10 (7-9 p.m.)
Dancing With the Omaha Stars
Ralston Arena
dancingwiththeomahastars.com
It’s back! Omaha stars Tony Veland, Chinh Doan, Jared Robinson, Miss Omaha, and others will strut their stuff in front of a panel of judges that includes Tom Osbourne, Mayor Jean Stothert, and Todd Schmaderer. While the Mirror Ball goes to the dancer who scores the highest, the other revered trophy in this contest is the Bella Award, given to the star who raises the most money for TeamMates.


Jan. 10 (6-9 p.m.)
Outland Trophy Award Dinner
Benefiting: The Greater Omaha Sports Committee
Location: Downtown DoubleTree
showofficeonline.com

Jan. 12 (6-9 p.m.)
Celebration of Life Dinner Fundraiser
Benefiting: Nebraskans United for Life
Location: DC Centre
nebraskansunitedforlife.org

Jan. 19 (5-7 p.m.)
Victory Boxing Club Seventh Annual Banquet
Benefiting: Victory Boxing Club
Location: Bellevue Christian Center
victoryboxingclub.org

Jan. 20 (6-10:30 p.m.)
Midlands Community Foundation Reflection Ball
Benefiting: Midlands Community Foundation
Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
midlandscommunity.org

Jan. 25 (5-9 p.m.)
Girls Nite Out
Benefiting: Girls Inc.
Location: Hilton Downtown
girlsincomaha.org

Jan. 27 (5:30-10 p.m.)
Rockin’ Rosie
Benefiting: The Rose Theater Guild
Location: Omaha Marriott Downtown
rosetheater.org

Jan. 28 (5-9 p.m.)
GLOW
Benefiting: Essential Pregnancy Services
Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
friendsofeps.org

Feb. 2 (5-10 p.m.)
MarianFEST 2018: Life is Sweet at Marian
Benefiting: Marian High School
Location: Omaha Hilton
marianhighschool.net

Feb. 3 (9 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Ultra Chic Boutique and The Dress Flip
Benefiting: The Alzheimer’s Association
Location: A View on State
maxiwalker.com/ucb

Heart and Stroke Ball

Feb. 3 (5 p.m.-midnight)
Omaha Heart & Stroke Ball
Benefiting: American Heart Association
Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
heart.org

Feb. 10 (6-9 p.m.)
Carnival of Love Gala
Benefiting: Heartland Family Service
Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
heartlandfamilyservice.org

Curly Tails and Cocktails

Feb. 10 (6-10 p.m.)
Curly Tails and Cocktails
Benefiting: Pug Partners of Nebraska
Location: Arbor Hall
pugpartners.com

Feb. 10 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Heart Bombing
Benefiting: Restoration Exchange Omaha
Location: TBA
restorationexchange.org

Feb. 10 (6-11 p.m.)
Swing Under the Wings
Benefiting: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
Location: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
sacmuseum.org

Feb. 10 (6:30-10 p.m.)
Winter at the Beach
Benefiting: Wings of Hope
Location: Mid-America Center
wingsofhope.org

Feb. 10 (11 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Polar Plunge
Benefiting: Special Olympics Nebraska
Location: Lake Cunningham
sone.org

Feb. 10-11 (starts 10 a.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. Sunday)
Heartland Winter Games, Floor Hockey
Benefiting: Special Olympics Nebraska
Location: UNO Campus
sone.org

Feb. 13 (6-9 p.m.)
Ten Outstanding Young Omahans Banquet
Benefiting: Omaha Jaycees
Location: Scoular Ballroom
omahajaycees.org

Trek up the Tower

Feb. 17 (7 a.m.-noon)
Trek Up the Tower
Benefiting: WELLCOM
Location: First National Bank Tower
trekupthetower.org

Feb. 17 (4:30-10 p.m.)
Mercy: The Gold Standard (Fiesta 2018)
Benefiting: Mercy High School
Location: La Vista Conference Center
mercyhigh.org

Feb. 22-24 (6:30-9 p.m.)
A Tasteful Murder
Benefiting: Joslyn Castle Trust
Location: Joslyn Castle
joslyncastle.com

Feb. 17 (noon-4 p.m.)
Barstool Open
Benefiting: United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska
Location: The Old Market
ucpnebraska.org

Feb. 24 (1-4 p.m.)
Uncorked
Benefiting: Angels Among Us
Location: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
myangelsamongus.org

Feb. 24 (6 p.m.-midnight)
Country Side of a Cure
Benefiting: JDRF
Location: CenturyLink Center
jdrf.org

Perfect Pour

Feb. 24 (7-11 p.m.)
Perfect Pour
Benefiting: Nebraska Children and Families Association
Location: Slowdown
nebraskachildren.org

Feb. 25 (1-5 p.m.)
Art & Soup
Benefiting: Visiting Nurse Association
Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
vnatoday.org

Times and dates subject to change.  Check organization’s websites for updated details.

This article appears as part of the calendar of events in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Feeling the Heat

June 20, 2013 by

Everyone loves a little fun in the sun, but when people linger in the sun’s rays a little too long, it can have harmful effects on their health, especially for seniors.

Heat-related illnesses, collectively known as hyperthermia, occur when the body overheats and does not have the sufficient means to cool itself down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the elderly are more prone to the sun’s harmful rays because they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition or take medication that inhibits normal body responses to heat.

“People who work in high heat develop a certain degree of tolerance. With the elderly, their ability to adapt to extreme temperatures is limited, and the body’s ability to maintain status quo is much more at risk,” says Kris Stapp, vice president of community and public health at Omaha’s Visiting Nurse Association.

Heat exhaustion is a mild form of heat stress. Continuous exposure to high temperatures, combined with high humidity and physical exertion, can lead to dehydration. If you develop heavy sweating, a pale complexion, muscle cramps, and a sense of tiredness, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. If not controlled, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke, which can cause permanent brain and organ damage.

Stapp stresses the importance of taking into account the timing of outdoor activities, especially strenuous ones such as gardening or walking. Older folks may need to adapt their outdoor plans in times of extreme heat.

“What is dangerous about any heat-related illness is, it comes on so subtly that people don’t realize it’s happening until the symptoms really set in,” Stapp says. “When people get to the point where they are confused, it can lead to unconsciousness.”

To combat heat stress, the CDC advises drinking plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. Make sure to get plenty of rest and try to stay in air-conditioned environments during the heat of the day. Also, make sure to wear lightweight clothing if venturing outdoors.

“Be smart,” Stapp says. “It’s about turning all this information around, and not only knowing the warning signs, but also how to prevent it from happening.”