It happened after Sunday Mass in Naples, Italy. Coleen Bradley Byrnes ’88 BSN dipped her fingers in holy water and put her hand to her head. “I had the worst headache of my life,” she recalls of June 3, 2012. She took a couple of steps and collapsed.
Villanovans would change the life of Coleen in ways she could not imagine as she graduated with her nursing degree and started her career in a pediatric burn center in Philadelphia. She had made a dear friend in classmate Sheila Kropp McLaughlin ’88 BSN and had already met her future husband Rich ’87 LAS, whom she married in 1989 and followed around the world while he served as a Naval Flight Officer.
After Rich’s retirement from military service and four children later, they remain in Naples, both as civilian employees of the Department of Defense —he works on the operational 6th Fleet staff and since 2005 she has been an elementary school nurse on board the base called Naval Support Activities (NSA) Naples.