By Patricia Duff
These are strange and difficult times for all of us. I happen to work at the hospital as the public relations officer and from my vantage point there, I wanted to share with your readers what I have seen in the anxious weeks since the Coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head and sent us all into a tailspin of this pandemic’s domino-like effects.
Since the early days of March 2020, which now seem a lifetime ago, I’ve seen the employees of WhidbeyHealth and its executive leadership come together in an extraordinary show of skill, level-headed preparation, courage and purpose through the day-to-day tasks performed by the entire team coming together to battle and defend against this stealth virus. This has also been true of our state organizations and Governor Inslee, Admiral Bono and our own Island County Public Health team.
I’ve experienced first-hand through my office and, through our Foundation office, an equally extraordinary outpouring of support from our Whidbey Island community, of monetary donations and a mountain of donations of masks, gloves, face shields, respirators, sterilization supplies, ponchos, coveralls, sandbags, food for our frontline workers and 2,500 handmade cloth masks from a local army of sewers.
I’ve experienced one after the other of truly heartfelt messages of gratitude to our frontline healthcare workers and support staff from our community through emails, comments on social media, private messages, hand-written notes and participation in our live COVID-19 updates online.
All this reflects what I have known to be the predominant attitude of Whidbey Islanders since moving to the island more than 15 years ago: a community who takes care of each other. Having experienced public comments in my work as a reporter for the South Whidbey Record, as an editor for Whidbey Life Magazine, as a performer at local theater companies and as a volunteer and board member for various organizations on the island, it only reinforces what I’ve learned since becoming an island resident, that the true colors of Whidbey Islanders reflect kindness and love, and that has made all the difference during this trying and uncertain time. If there are any silver linings to this horrible crisis, that is the one I choose to shine a light on.
To all the essential workers in our entire community, thank you for your courage and stamina. We are holding you. To all those individuals, businesses and families who are affected by this virus in ways that seem unbearable, hopeless and untenable, please keep the faith.
We can get through this together and come out stronger on the other side. And to all those who have organized groups to help our healthcare workers and other support staff during this pandemic, I applaud you.
Stay safe. Stay home. Stay healthy.
n Patricia Duff is public relations officer for WhidbeyHealth.