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Council Bluffs nurse provides aid to president of foundation that granted her scholarship

May 15, 2020

STARS scholar’s schedule aligns perfectly for CEO in the right place at the right time

Julie Adkins, RN

Julie Adkins, RN, kept the card that came with the flowers IWF President and CEO Pete Tulipana sent her after she provided aid during his heart episode. The message: I was glad you were there.

The morning of Nov. 20th, 2019 held nothing out of the ordinary according to Pete Tulipana’s calendar. As the President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation, he was scheduled to give his annual presentation to the Council Bluffs Chamber’s leadership class. Despite not feeling his best, he drove to the Charles E. Lakin Campus and walked to the front of the room to deliver his power point to the group.

It’s a similar story for Julie Adkins. It was just a typical Wednesday for the RN with All Care Health Center where she works in community health. She was just beginning her shift at a clinic within New Visions Homeless Services when her boss, Bill Wypyski, ran in.

There’s a medical emergency.

Perhaps it was fate. Some might call it a coincidence. But no one denies that Pete was lucky he was in the right place at the right time when he and Julie’s worlds collided. What they didn’t realize is that they were already linked.

Back in 2011, Julie was unhappy in her career as a vet tech. While she had known health care was her calling since her son was involved in a farming accident as a small boy, something was missing. Adkins was already serving as an EMS/firefighter volunteer for McClelland when a friend suggested she go back to school and earn her LPN.

After four years of serving as an LPN, she was ready to earn her RN but financially, it seemed impossible. Again, a friend made a suggestion: the STARS scholarship program.

STARS provides funding to non-traditional student parents wanting to go back to school full-time. Administered by the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation, the program is an education initiative of none other than the Iowa West Foundation.

Using the scholarship funds to offset costs for tuition, a computer, school supplies, internet access and testing costs, Adkins was able to earn her RN in the spring of 2019. She graduated with a GPA of 3.1.

“STARS was instrumental in getting me where I am today,” she said.

Today she is also the nurse who came running into the chaos that happened when Tulipana’s chest pains caused him to rapidly decline. She’s the health care professional who assessed his vital signs, administered life-saving medication, and briefed emergency responders when they arrived, saving valuable time. Today, Pete Tulipana’s heart attack is largely in the rearview mirror, due in part to Adkins quick action. Still, she credits Iowa West’s scholarship program for everything.

“I’m incredibly in debt with how much STARS helped me,” she said.

And Iowa West in incredibly indebted to you, Julie.

Written by Nicole Lindquist, Director of Communications

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its quality of life and standard of living.

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