A double image showing a ca. 1918 portrait in grey tones of Helen Victoria Green, wearing a WWI nurse's uniform. This image is placed next to an image of her headstone at Fahlun Lutheran Church Cemetery, which shows signs of aging, including dark stains and lichen. A small American flag is placed next to her headstone.

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Helen Victoria Green: WWI Nurse Headstone to be Cleaned this Sat. Jun 11

A double image showing a ca. 1918 portrait in grey tones of Helen Victoria Green, wearing a WWI nurse's uniform. This image is placed next to an image of her headstone at Fahlun Lutheran Church Cemetery, which shows signs of aging, including dark stains and lichen. A small American flag is placed next to her headstone.
Today we are featuring the story behind one headstone on our list to be cleaned & cared for at the Volunteer Cemetery Clean Up – Fahlun Cemetery event this Saturday, June 11, starting at 9am. Be aware, Helen’s story includes tragedy.
Helen Victoria Green served as a nurse with the US Navy/Navy Reserves during WWI, honorably discharged on May 10, 1920. She continued in the nursing profession and returned to Douglas County, MN, where as a child she had lived with her parents, John and Augusta Green.
Today, we are more aware of PTSD, trauma, and the danger of suicide to those who are exposed to the horrors of war and the overwhelmingly tragic results; In 1923, there were far fewer resources for mental health, and many suffered in silence.
Helen unfortunately died to suicide on November 27, 1923, at 31 years old. She had no direct descendants.
Debates still occur today over the ‘veteran’ status of nurses who served with the armed forces during the World Wars. However in 1928, Helen’s father applied to the US War Department for what we recognize today as a ‘Veteran Headstone,’ with support from American Legion Post #111.
The US War Department approved his request for a headstone for Helen, based on her service as a nurse with the US Navy.
Although Helen died on November 27, 1923, her grave went unmarked until Spring of 1929, when her official veteran headstone arrived in Douglas County and could be placed.
Helen’s headstone is one of many we will be cleaning this Saturday at our Volunteer Cemetery Clean Up – Fahlun Cemetery. If you are interested in assisting, please bring a pair of gardening gloves, wear work clothes, and join us at 9am. Depending on the wind, you may also want to bring bug spray.
If you are interested in supporting our Historic Cemetery Care & Aid program to help us care for historic graves like Helen’s, please consider a donation. The volunteer cleanup at Fahlun Lutheran Cemetery is just one of many historic cemetery projects we will be undertaking this summer.
Donations can easily be made online here: https://www.givemn.org/story/Dchs-Cemetery
Or donations may be made in person (M-F, 9-4) or mailed to:
Douglas County Historical Society
1219 Nokomis Street
Alexandria, MN 56308
Or you can reach us by phone at 320-762-0382
Or email at historic@dchsmn.org

Thank you!