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From Sharon Health Care’s head: Thanks to many for so much

Guest Commentary

As the administrator of Sharon Health Care Center in Sharon, I wanted to write to say thank you to the countless community members who have supported our center during our transition to a COVID Recovery Facility. To those who donated food to us at the start, whose names are endless. To those who wrote cards and letters of encouragement to our staff and residents. To Sharon Center School and their students for the beautiful artwork. To Lydia Kruge Moore, Jill Drew and Lori Carlson for organizing the Meal Train, and to all who purchased meals from area restaurants providing us with many days of wonderful local food. To the Northwest Connecticut Mask Makers who provided masks from the very beginning. Huge thanks to The Hotchkiss School for playing a big role in donating materials and allowing Nancy Vaughn to coordinate the sewing of masks and gowns, to its students who made masks, and to family members for the donations of surgical and N95 masks and thermometers.

To the Sharon United Methodist Church for the recreation supplies and treats. To Cynthia Hochswender and The Lakeville Journal for taking the time to learn the facts, writing thoughtful articles for the paper, and for being supportive of my team and what we are doing. To Sharon Hospital and Geer Village for helping when we needed you. For the donations of beautiful hearts and signs of support placed around our facility. To our local Sharon EMS team and Jamie Casey, who was supportive from the start and came in anytime we needed without hesitation.

I was born and raised in this community and thought I knew a fair amount of people, but it was so inspiring to see the amazing support from a much bigger community than I ever knew existed. To my family for supporting me in my new role, and understanding what my job entails in these uncertain times, and to my fiancé, Jeff, and his family, for making sacrifices due to the nature of my work. To the families of my staff members who were afraid for their own families and loved ones working at our facility and understanding it was their job and what their job was all about. 

Thank you to all of the families of residents who trusted us with your loved one’s care. I know that it is not easy not to be able to see your loved ones or to be near them during these times.

Thank you to my corporate team for being so supportive and stepping up to try to be a solution to the spread of COVID-19. I know that not all of the media has been kind to you; those who don’t take the time to see the big picture and everything behind the scenes. Thank you for listening to me, and for being there for me and everyone at our Sharon facility.

Last but not least, I want to thank my staff. To help those of you who are not on the front lines, better understand us, nursing homes and health care workers are highly regulated. Nursing homes get bad reputations or negative press coverage because people hear the term “nursing home” and they associate a certain stigma. Staff working at health-care facilities may not have glamorous jobs. Each and every one of them could have chosen to do something else that is more appreciated, with better pay, and where they don’t have to perform work that can be unpleasant or distasteful.

Caring for our elderly and infirm, and those who are unwell, is a daunting task for most people to do on a daily basis even when we are not in these unprecedented times. We lose more people who are part of our “family” in a year, than most people lose in a lifetime. We are under constant scrutiny and regulations to ensure the care we provide is the best it can be, and to safeguard our residents against any type of breach of conduct. We have high and rigorous standards that we are required to meet, more so than any other health-care provider or any industry and if we don’t meet them, we are fined and worse. New regulations are continually launched and are updated.

It is hard work. But we are all here, working together, because we care about people. Our staff chose their jobs because these people mean something to them; they care for them at their best and their worst. It takes a dedicated and amazing team to care for a whole family of residents. Yes they become our family too, because we are there for them each and every day, no matter what. 

So thank you to my tireless, devoted, hard-working, selfless staff, who have been coming into work, and putting their own lives at risk, because they care about people. They are not only part of our Sharon Health Care Team, but part of our Sharon and local community. During this coronavirus pandemic, they have all worked very long hours, under great pressure, sacrificing a lot. I know it has not been easy. Thank you for coming into work even though you were fearful. You continued to maintain such positive attitudes as you endeavored to make life better for people who needed you, and to help them recover from COVID-19. You, above all, are my true heroes!!

I feel very blessed to live and work in such a great community who came out to support us in a big way. Thank you. It means more than words can say.


Sawyer Thornton is the administrator at Sharon Health Care Center in Sharon.

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