Dr. Michelle Bailes had a fund dedicated to her legacy in Portage la Prairie for her work at the Portage Clinic and Hospital. Portage District General Hospital Foundation Executive Director Tara Pettinger says bursaries are provided through the fund every year, and this is the fifth year for them. 

"One of them is via the Portage Clinic and goes to high school students. The other one is for employees of the clinic or the hospital, or connected to an employee. It's just to allow them to continue their education. It's been an amazing fund that really highlights Dr. Bailes' Legacy. Dr. Bailes passed away in 2018. By 2019, we were already issuing bursaries to applicants."

BailesMichelle Bailes memorial

She adds it's a really nice tribute in some unfortunate circumstances. 

Several recipients are receiving it this year including Joss Hordeski, Shelby Smith, Alex Peters, Desiree Green, Devon Borody, and Stephanie Simon.

All are involved in various programs within Sciences in Healthcare.

St. Paul's Collegiate Highs School recipients include Hannah Leafloor from St. Paul’s Collegiate and McKenna Sharpe from PCI.

Emily Gray is on the committee that decides who is receiving the bursaries. and says Michelle Bailes' parents came up with the idea.

"Michelle was very passionate about Portage, about medicine, and trying to encourage people to get the the biggest amount of out of life. Really and truly, she was a pretty amazing lady. They came up with this bursary, and it was to help people; not just to pay for going back to school, but also to be able to live life and enjoy things. One of the things that they really look at when they're giving the bursary out is involvement in different activities. It's kind of a different one because lots of times, this is money for schooling. They very much want to know the person and they want to see the journey."

Gray adds it's great to be part of it, seeing as they very much want that piece of it top continue Michele's legacy.

"Rick and Velvet Bailes allowed me that honour of being part of it. And it's amazing just to see how it continues to grow and how it continues to see Michele's legacy lives on."

JossJoss Hordeski

Joss Hordeski received a bursary and is a first-year recipient. She graduated high school last year and started working at the Portage Clinic in the fall.

"I decided that I wanted to further my nursing career. I'm just a health care aide right now and I'd like to become a nurse. That's my dream. So, I was fortunate enough to receive the Dr. Bailes Bursary, which is really exciting because it relieves some financial burdens that, obviously, lots of university students deal with. It feels really great to be gifted this bursary in her name because she left a very great legacy at the clinic and all the physicians have good things to say about her." 

She adds she's extremely grateful to the physicians and staff at the Portage Clinic. 

"Even just working for a short amount of time, around eight months, I've made some really great friends and I've learned a lot. Some of the physicians helped me out writing reference letters for the bursary and they said some very kind words, and I appreciate them taking the time for that. Portage is lucky to have such a great community of healthcare staff and physicians."

Tessa Martin was a multi-year recipient of the bursary and is an employee with Southern Health-Sante Sud who worked on the medicine ward.  The bursary came in especially helpful in her situation, making her extremely grateful for the opportunity.

"I heard about it while I was at work and I had decided that I was going to upgrade my LPN to my BN. Basically, I just applied and I was very shocked and very grateful that I was able to be a recipient of that award. I received it two years in a row. I was not expecting that. I think I even cried a couple times because I just was so grateful and overwhelmed with the generosity of Michelle Bailes and her team. It means a lot to me too to have the support of the hospital that you work at. That was a huge thing for me."

She notes she applied for educational leave and three other people were approved for that leave, but she wasn't.

"So, I ended up having to leave my job, leave seniority, and not have a job to come back to. I mean, with the nursing shortage it's good because now I have my pickings of jobs. But at the time, it was quite devastating. I think they just really understood the struggles that I was having because I had left feeling so unsupported by my workplace. But to have Michelle Bailes bursary available, to have that support and know that maybe my manager didn't support the choice of me going to get my education, but Michelle's family and the committee believed in me, I think that was a huge thing and a huge encouragement to me to continue my education, push through, and not feel like I was robbed in any way."

She says her story must have touched the family and they decided to choose her.