Meet Lester and Mildred
Former LANL workers find the silver lining in their love for each other
Although the ramifications of their workplace exposure were not understood at the time, Lester and Mildred found the silver lining in their connection with one another while working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Lester was born in May of 1932 in Portland, Oregon where he lived until 1950 when he moved to Seattle, Washington. A few years later, when Lester was just 23, he moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico where he was contracted by the University of California. Lester accepted a position under the Atomic Energy Commission at what was then named the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories, now, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
In 1982, in the midst of traveling between different states for work, Lester joined a support group where he and Mildred met. A year and a half later they were married under a firework lit sky on New Year’s Day, 1984.
Mildred started her career at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a secretary for the WX3 group where she resided for 2 years before transferring to the X Group in the Administration Building. There, Mildred’s job functions as a computer technician included word processing and data analyzing. Mildred spent over 15 years at the lab and remembers meeting such pleasant and unique people during her stay. “ I enjoyed my time at the lab very much.”
Regarding their exposure while working at LANL, Mildred explained that there were no safety protocols set in place like they have now. “Everyone was negligent. We had to read the office safety practices manual every year, but no one took it seriously,” she recalled. “No one knew the consequences of the toxins we were being exposed to,” Lester added.
Joining the Nuclear Care Partners Family
Prior to signing on with Nuclear Care Partners, Mildred already had her white card and was signed on with another company. Unfortunately, she was not receiving the care she needed and had recently gone four months without receiving any of her scheduled in-home nursing care. During these nurse-absent months, Lester received a postcard in the mail from Nuclear Care Partners inviting him to attend an informational seminar. For Lester, this was the first step in getting the adequate care he needed, and for Mildred, a door was opened for her to finally receive the care she so desperately needed, and deserved.
In the summer of 2021, local EEOICPA Benefits Specialist, Stephanie Bogle, was able to assist Mildred in making the smooth transition to Nuclear Care Partners, where she is now receiving the compassionate and devoted care she needs.
Today, Lester and Mildred collectively receive 96 hours of home health care each week and have access to Nuclear Care Partners’ support for any assistance they may need with their white card benefits including impairment ratings, consequential illnesses, durable medical equipment, and medical/travel reimbursements.
An Atomic Love of Nearly 40 Years
Through all of their trials and tribulations, Lester and Mildred knew their hearts belonged in Los Alamos, but more importantly to each other. Coming up on their 40th wedding anniversary, they have found that the secret to a long and happy marriage is to stay present and connected with one another in all things, cherishing each moment of the journey and each memory together.
To read the full article, check out our Fall 2022 Atomic Health News edition.