Back in 1958, 28 members of the St. Joseph Mercy School of Nursing graduated in what ended up being the second-to-last group of nurses to graduate from the Fort Dodge school.

On Friday, 18 members of that class returned for its 55th reunion.

Sharon Callahan, of Dallas, Texas, who organized the reunion, said the alumni plan a get-together every five years.

The idea began when the group was set to have its 10-year reunion.

“I felt that, at 10 years, we should come together,” she said. “So I began organizing that reunion.”

From that point forward, every five years, Callahan said she arranged every reunion.

“For the ones that remain, this is a great event,” she said. “It’s been gratifying that people will respond.”

Even though many of the alumni no longer live in the area, that doesn’t stop them from coming.

“We intended to fly up a long time ago,” Callahan said. “We were all very supportive of each other and nobody ever backed away.”

Joan Loonam, of Naples, Fla., agreed.

“This is a big deal,” she said. “Fifty-five years. Can you imagine?”

Most of their time is spent reminiscing about the days when the women lived in the dorms together.

Carol Keck, of Fort Dodge, said that’s her favorite part.

“It brings back old memories,” she said. “The times we spent in the dorms and the different experiences we had. We all worked in different departments.”

Callahan recalled the day a patient tried to run away from the hospital that was located in the 700 block of S. 17th St. Students were supposed to stay with them. Not leave their side because staff would find them.

“We were told that they would find us, so we weren’t supposed to leave the patient,” Callahan said.

On this day, the patient tried to leave the hospital grounds, with Callahan along. They didn’t get far, according to Callahan. Someone on the third floor alerted staff. Out of nowhere, Callahan said a van from the hospital pulled up and came to her aid.

The two-day reunion consists of a picnic the first night and a dinner the second night. The picnic Friday was held at Snell-Crawford Park.