GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – A Great Bend woman is making a difference in her community by putting others before herself and inspiring the next generation one person at a time.
Jill Lane is described by her energy, her passion for teaching for over 20 years and her love for the Lord. This defines her as a remarkable woman.
“She always had that, that huge heart. She’s just very generous,” said John Lane, Jill’s husband. “She was a special education teacher, a regular teacher, and now she’s a youth group minister, but she always had that heart to help maybe the underserved or the underprivileged.”
Nearing the end of her nursing degree, Jill got a job as a para-educator.
“I’ve always fallen in love with kids,” Jill said.
This work and his nephew with special needs changed his trajectory to teach special education.
“I have a nephew who has special needs and high needs, like my own son, and he was born then, and so that’s kind of where I fell in love with not just being in the special education room, but to understand how hard it was for the children and their parents to go through the school system in this situation,” Jill said. “It moved me for special education.”
Jill has testified in court in child abuse cases.
“I have been to court. I have testified in abuse cases. You know, I’m a teacher, but I was there because I was the one who stood up and said, we have to save this child, and it’s hard because our system is broken, ”a- she declared.
During her career, Jill had to retire from teaching a few times.
“Our son Trenton was born with Lisencephaly, which is a brain disorder, which means his brain is smooth, so he’s extremely disabled physically and mentally,” John Lane said. “He can’t talk and can’t walk, he needs round-the-clock care, he has a seizure disorder.”
Trenton, 19, was not expected to live more than three years.
“A lot of kids with this disease don’t live more than two or three years, but I attribute Trenton’s lifespan to Jill’s toughness and not just not following the status quo, not listening to a doctor, to do his own research,” Jean said. “He didn’t handle the formula he was given, so she did some research, and now she’s basically created her own diet with ground foods and oils, and I really think, I think that’s the supported and allowed him to live to be 19.
Jill said it hasn’t been easy.
“I’ve always had my stockings, and I just told a story in church about how at one point in my life I gave up on God, you know, at one point in my life I said that there wasn’t because how does a loving God do that to a child,” she said. can’t breathe, see the pneumonia get so bad you hope to get to the hospital before he stops breathing, just a few days and days in the hospital trying to control a brain that doesn’t want to be controlled, yeah , there were dark times.
She said it was those dark times that taught her to be the light.
“If you look, there’s always angels in a nurse’s house, in a doctor’s house, you know, they’re around us all the time and, you know, if you’re just looking for that bright spot, it’ll be there, and that’s is how I stay positive,” she said. “I hope I can be an angel to someone in need.”
Jill has since found a way to continue teaching, but now it’s through her church.
Her students said she changed the youth program for the better.
“She inspired me to love being a good person,” said Delaina Strickland, a youth group student.
“You can really tell how much she cares about us,” student Darcy Feist said.
“We had some pretty in-depth discussions about things and how she can really connect with us,” student Brody Feist said.
If you ask her why she does it, she says it’s to help the next generation.
“Every child wants to be loved, and it’s that simple, and when you have love in your heart, for someone else, no matter who they are or what situation they are in, they react to that, and I think that’s why I love teaching so much,” she said.
Her husband said you can find Jill tending to injured animals.
“It’s as simple as volunteering for a youth group or, you know, rescuing a cat from the street,” John said.
Jill has rescued animals like cats, baby bats, squirrels and other animals.
“We had a bad storm, and a mother bat got knocked over in our yard, and I thought she was dead, and I picked her up, and dried her off,” he said. she declared. “I cry every time animals die.”
It’s this passion for everything she does that her husband said people should learn from.
“If people just loved their neighbor and cared about their neighbor, that’s what Jill does, and I think a lot of people can take inspiration from that and use her as an example,” he said. “We would have a much better world.”
As for where Jill will go from here, she said her heart drives her to be a CASA volunteer to help children in difficult situations.