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Shelly Jo Elkington

Board Member and Registered Nurse

I am from Montevideo, MN.  A small town girl, born and raised.  My strong roots in the prairie and rural Minnesota has allowed me to network and fill need gaps in our local community.  After returning to my hometown in 1990 and having two children, I earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked at Friendship Homes of MN in Montevideo.  I then followed in my father’s footsteps and became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1992, and eventually coordinated the emergency medical services for Chippewa County until 2010.  As a result of that training, I was asked to develop the human resource and safety department at Friendship Homes.  In 2002 I left my position at Friendship Homes and started the area’s first personal care agency; Avenues for Care, Inc.  Our company grew quickly and has served hundreds of residents who are in need of physical, emotional and mental health support.  In 2013, I completed my degree as a Registered Nurse.  In 2009-11, I served on the board of CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) whose efforts have dramatically brought awareness to fresh water pollution in our rivers and streams.  Recently, I spearheaded an association of personal care providers in the state called the Minnesota First Provider Alliance.

I am married to my husband Timothy and we have a son Zachary and a daughter Casey Jo.  In addition to our PCA business, we own and operate a winter passive-solar greenhouse.   I enjoy reading, home improvement projects, outdoor activities such as kayaking and walking.  I find great peace in our country home with our dog Poppy.

On August 19 2015, my 26 year oldest daughter Casey Jo, was found dead at her home in Fargo ND.  She spent several years struggling with an opiate addiction that began after being prescribed medication for her Crohn’s disease.  The details of her death remain unclear, but her addiction was certainly the contributing factor.  Being a parent of a child that suffered from chronic pain and as a result, an opiate addiction – I’ve realized that advocacy in both these areas go hand in hand.  Knowing that reform will come too late for Casey Jo is heartbreaking, but her spirit drives me.  As in life, and now through her death – her mission was to help others in any way she could.  She is my hero.

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