From the Rogers Historical Museum: Vera Estelle Key was born at War Eagle on September 16, 1893. A few years later, the family took up residence in a two-story frame house at 321 West Cherry Street and lived in Rogers for most of the remainder of Vera’s childhood. In 1908 Vera graduated from the Rogers Public School, speaking at the commencement on “Success by Failure.”

In 1909, at the age of 16, Vera left home to attend the Centenary Hospital Training School for nurses in St. Louis. In 1911 Vera was certified as a registered nurse. She spent the next few years doing private duty nursing in the Rogers area, assisting in risky surgeries performed on kitchen tables and occasionally dealing with serious medical emergencies on her own.

World War I gave Vera Key the opportunity to serve her country and broaden her horizons. On September 28, 1918, she sailed for France on the U.S.S. Leviathan to serve in the Army Nurse Corps. While in France she compiled a photo album and kept a diary in which she recorded the ups and downs of life as an army nurse in a 2,000-bed hospital. After the Armistice, the nurses enjoyed leaves to Paris and the French countryside, where they were delighted by cathedrals and chateaus and sobered by ruined buildings and great war cemeteries. Parties and dances were frequent and Vera’s dance cards were always full. In the fall of 1919 Nurse Key was sent back to the United States to serve at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. She returned to Rogers in June of 1920, one of the last Benton County volunteers to be discharged.