Early in 1919, after World War I, Marseilles had a balance of $3,000 in the American Red Cross Fund. The Red Cross suggested that Marseilles either return the money or establish a nursing service for the community. The town formed a nursing service known as the Marseilles Red Cross and it was operated under the supervision of the American Red Cross until 1928.
At that time, it was decided to form an independent health organization called the Public Health Center. It was governed by a Board of Directors composed of local citizens, each serving a 3-year term, a practice that continues today.
The nurse was paid a salary of $150 per month and did all of her nursing by foot until the Commercial Club of Marseilles donated the first car. From 1919 to 1930, the Nursing Service rented office space on Main Street, until the employees of National Biscuit built the current office at 227 S. Main Street in 1930 during their free time at the plant.
The Marseilles Nursing Service has a long and notable history in the community. A few of the many health issues it has seen and helped the town through include the flu epidemic in 1919, the dysentery outbreak in 1928 and the scarlet fever and pneumonia outbreaks of 1936. In 1937, the Service joined the campaign to stop out small pox and diphtheria, then in 1952, assisted with the mass Polio program. During World War II, the nurses were involved in helping the wives and children of servicemen. Throughout the years the Nursing Service has had many roles, including that of the School’s nurse, and now, 101 years later, the Marseilles Nursing Service continues to provide health services to the community.
Because MNS is a non-profit service, funding is dependent upon community donations. As early as 1923, fund drives were organized for the nursing service. For over 50 years, the Rotary Club has held an annual door-to-door fundraiser. Every November, the Lions Club hosts a popular ‘Las Vegas Night’ and in spring, the American Legion sponsors a themed dinner. Everything we have has come from the volunteers and the donations made by the generous community of Marseilles.
Provided services: cooperating with doctors and other health agencies in the promotion of health programs, blood pressure monitoring and blood glucose screening, visiting nurse services, catering to the elderly and their needs, providing medical equipment and supplies such as hospital beds, canes, crutches, walkers, wheel chairs and more through our Medical Equipment Loan Program, provided supplies to residents during the 2013 flood and distributed over 2,000 cloth face masks, free, to the Marseilles community during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.