COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — Maybe you felt it this Christmas — that twinge of nostalgia for a Christmas past.

For one Coon Rapids woman, it is a recurring memory.

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“Every year, when I put up this ornament, it reminds me of the family that gave it to me,” Jan DeVries said.

While DeVries doesn’t remember that family’s name, she remembers their story like it was yesterday.

In 1971, DeVries, then Jan Bargston, was a first year nurse working in the ICU at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“I was his nurse, and he had pneumonia,” DeVries said. “We needed to do a tracheotomy, which…for a young, raw nurse…that was kind of a scary thing.”

DeVries’ patient didn’t make it.

“It was very sad, because it was Christmas time,” DeVries said.

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A couple months later, a surprise arrived at DeVries’ door.

“One of the kids came up to the front door and handed me this box, and it was wrapped, and said, ‘We just want you to have this for taking care of our Dad,'” DeVries said. “Then they left. I didn’t have a chance to say anything more than thank you.”

Overwhelmed, more than four decades later by their gratitude, DeVries is making a plea.

“If anyone out there remembers me or the story, I wish they’d get in touch,” DeVries said.

DeVries believes this story deserves a proper ending.

“I just want them to know that I appreciate them thinking of me, and was glad that I was there for them,” DeVries said.

DeVries went on to be a nurse for more than 30 years, working with children in the ICU.

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