Aspirus Health nurses by day, sled dog mushers by night

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Aspirus Health nurses by day, sled dog mushers by night


Photo courtesy of Asurimaging
Registered nurses Becky Bean and Kelly Engle race their sled dogs in the Tahquamenon Sled Dog Race in 2017.

CALUMET — Aspirus Health Registered Nurses Becky Bean and Kelly Engle continue to provide care on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, but come the beginning of March, they’ll be tackling an additional challenge: The CopperDog 150.

When they aren’t providing nursing care at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital–Bean in the intensive care unit and Engle in the emergency room–you’ll often find them with their other passion–full teams of energetic dogs.

“Every day as a nurse you work as a team to provide the best possible care to your patients,” Engle said. “More so over the last two years during critical times, you put everything you’ve ever known and learned on the line. The same goes while we are on the trail, you work, train and deliver the best possible outcome.”

Created in 2009, the CopperDog 150 brings over 350 sled dogs racing through Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula each year during the first weekend in March. The event features three races: the CopperDog 150 (122 miles), the CopperDog 80 (76.5 miles) and the CopperDog 25 (14 miles). Bean is competing in the 8-dog, two-stage CopperDog 80. Engle is competing in the six-dog, one-stage CopperDog 25.

Aspirus Health has been the official volunteer and first aid sponsor of the CopperDog 150 since its inception.

Provuded photo
Registered nurses Becky Bean and Kelly Engle posed together.

“We are extremely proud to support an event like CopperDog that aligns with our mission to heal people, promote health and strengthen our communities,” said Jenn Jenich-Laplander, Aspirus Regional Communications and Community Engagement Lead. “Many members of our amazing Aspirus family are involved in this community event, whether volunteering, planning or participating.”

“Nursing is a passion,” Bean said. “We care for our patients like they are our own family; same goes for the care and compassion we give to our dogs. I’ve been a nurse with Aspirus for almost 23 years, and we can’t thank our team members enough for their support and encouragement.”

“The entire Aspirus family will be cheering Becky and Kelly on as they participate in the race,” Jenich-Laplander said. “We wish them both the best of luck!”

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