As Dr. Bill Bloemendaal built Great Falls Orthopedic Associates into a practice renowned across the Pacific Northwest, he was committed to his patients and to his employees. He wanted to help ensure his employees’ futures and developed a solid retirement program.
With his work on that program and his strong interest in the stock market, Dr. Bloemendaal was on the phone every day with Ian Davidson, now chairman emeritus of D.A. Davidson. Their business relationship turned into a five-decades-long friendship between both men’s families.
Ian and Nancy Davidson and Andrew and Wendy Davidson are honoring Dr. Bill and Lynn Bloemendaal with a $275,000 donation to the Benefis Women's and Children's Center and the naming of the center's first-floor education center.
The Dr. J.W. “Bill” and Lynn Bloemendaal Education Center recognizes the Bloemendaals’ commitment to education. Dr. Bloemendaal was a father-figure and mentor to many, and he, like Nancy Davidson, served on the board of the Great Falls Public Schools.
“We had such a high regard for Bill and his medical career, and for Lynn as a former nurse and someone who made it possible," said Andrew Davidson, who leads the family's foundation.
In 2010, Dr. Bloemendaal and Great Falls Orthopedic Associates opened the state-of-the-art Orthopedic Center of Montana in partnership with Benefis Health System. Until his passing at age 89 in January, Dr. Bloemendaal continued to see patients daily at Benefis Orthopedics. His expertise and wisdom were assets to Benefis.
The Davidsons said the donation also reflects the three pillars they support in Great Falls and beyond: healthcare, education, and effective city governance.
A community's future depends on those pillars, and that is how you attract new residents, Andrew said.
When employee candidates for D.A. Davidson, or for Benefis, come to Great Falls, they most want to know whether the community has good schools and good hospitals, and whether it is a well-run city, he said.
Andrew said he appreciates the thoughtfulness of the design and innovating approach of having specialty areas such as Sletten Cancer Institute and soon the Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center. He likes that services will be collected, allowing easier access for young families.
Ian highlighted the impact the building will have reshaping the look of 10th Avenue South. The center will be a “real plus” for one of Montana’s busiest streets.
The Davidsons’ legacy is woven into every significant project in Benefis Health System's history, and they’ve long been supporters of Mayfaire, Benefis Foundation's annual fundraiser. Nancy served on the Foundation Board from 2004-2011.
Ian said he looks around the hospital and sees so many ways people have contributed. The writing is literally on the wall in donor-recognition plaques.
Andrew said the coronavirus pandemic can be a “reset button” to remind people about the importance of essentials, whether that’s toilet paper or quality medical facilities.
People who are blessed with the ability to give back in support of their community and the greater good have a responsibility to do what they can, Nancy said.
For some, Wendy added, giving back may be volunteering, which is a great gift to the community. Wendy encourages others to give back to their communities what they can. Time as a volunteer is among the best gifts.
Nancy said her family had awaited such an opportunity to honor their dear friends and show their support for Benefis.
“We’re so pleased to have the chance to do this,” Nancy said. “We believe in a strong medical center, and this will add to it.”
To learn more about the center, please check out Nesting Notes.