Lucille Casner’s husband, Stanley, built a family practice around the Spicewood Springs Road and Mesa Drive area, back when that was considered way out of town. When he died in 2010, she kept many of his things, including a library full of old medical journals and his stethoscope. “He had used that for many years,” she says. “It had sentimental value.”
Then she read the Statesman Season for Caring story of Alicia Gonzales, a mom of three boys who is in nursing school and had put a stethoscope on her wish list.
“This is silly,” Casner said she remembers thinking. “Let me give it to someone who can use it.”
Gonzales was nominated to Season for Caring by Capital IDEA, which helps working adults with education and career services.
“I thought it would be easy,” Gonzales said of school. “It had its advantages, but being a nurse is way more than I expected, and it's made me respect that job even more, and now that I’m working so hard to get it, it's not just a piece of paper anymore.”
Gonzales grew up helping her mother, Zonia Garcia, take care of her grandmother.
Gonzales, 40, said she decided to enter the medical field after taking her grandmother to doctor’s appointments regularly and noticing the medical staff was not very friendly or empathetic.
“I used to say if I had a job like that I would smile and look people in the eye, listen to their needs, be compassionate and not treat people like they were a cattle on a conveyor belt,” Gonzales said.
Because of that experience, about 15 years ago she became a medical assistant working in family care and internal medicine. Her latest job was in pediatrics at Lone Star Circle of Care, a job she said she fell in love with.
She was happy with her medical assistant salary, but then she had three sons and realized she needed to find a way to make more money. She started Austin Community College’s nursing program in 2015.
In order to finish school and take care of her mother, who is on dialysis, Gonzales has had to stop working. Things are tough.
Everyday appliances and household items, such as a dresser and furniture, have been put on the back burner until she can earn more money. Her growing boys also need new clothes and shoes.
Through Capital IDEA, Gonzales was able to receive money for tuition, books and school supplies. The group also was able to find her help with childcare costs and emergency financial assistance.
She plans to graduate in May and then find a job as a pediatric nurse shortly after, but until then she tries to stay positive, be grateful for what she has and thank God for always providing.
“It's always in God's timing,” Gonzales said. “God’s brought me through all of this and has always provided for us and I owe it all to him.”
The family needs help with clothing for the boys (sizes 4 toddler, 6 boys and 7 boys), H-E-B gift cards, Walmart gift cards and a wheelchair holder for the car; coccyx pillow; a sit-to-stand recliner; six-drawer dresser (tall); help with medical bills; laptop; WiFi services; toys (Paw Patrol, Baby Shark, Toy Story or anything with wheels); spa treatment for Alicia; and help with divorce expenses.
“This stethoscope is a minimal thing, but just the fact that she wants to further her education is an admirable thing,” Casner said. “I wish her Godspeed.”
To find out more about the Gonzales family or fulfill one of their wishes, contact Capital IDEA, 512-457-8610, capitalidea.org.