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Change Agent

Image of Amber from Clinical Manager for Westwood at Benedictine Living Community-DuluthSince she was young, Amber Verhel has been an advocate for change. A native Duluthian, at a young age Amber and her family moved to Ohio. On a trip back to Duluth when the family was crossing the Mackinac Bridge over Lake Michigan, Amber was less impressed by the large bridge and more impressed by the color of the water. “What is wrong with the water, it is blue. I need to fix it,” she exclaimed. You see, living near Lake Erie she thought lakes were brown.


Amber, a registered nurse and Clinical Manager for Westwood, models the behavior of a change agent. She works to promote, champion and support people/organizations by inspiring and caring for others. To do this, she uses her innate sense of care for the people around her. She is good at reading people and meeting them where they are to help bring solutions to situations. This is what brought her to Benedictine. She is honored to use her ability to care for and impact the lives of the residents, families and staff, and does not take the opportunity lightly.


Amber worked in a hospital setting when COVID hit. On the frontline, she worked long and very emotional shifts, often times with few or no breaks. Because of the quarantine situation and families not being able to come visit, she often was the only person able to be with her patients at the end of their lives. It became a hard but evident choice to leave this environment, particularly for family which included health compromised situations for parents and in-laws, plus Amber and her husband Aaron were fostering to adopt four children. She said, “I needed to give my best self to my family.”


The gift of working with the residents of Westwood helps her to give back to those who made history and change for others. “They built our community and are pillars of care and support for those before us. I am honored and humbled to be here to give back,” she tearfully shared.


Amber says of the growth of her own family, “I have a wonderful husband, four lovely children, my extended family and my Westwood family. My heart is full!”


Change is all around us. Amber embraces this by inspiring and influencing others through change every day.