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County Recognizes 12th Week Of COVID-19 Heroes

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel and the COVID-19 Response Team recently announced the twelfth week of COVID-19 Hero nominations for April 26-30. Nominations are recognized in a video posted weekdays on the Chautauqua County Government Facebook page, and each nominee receives a personal note from the County Executive’s Office.

“Our heroes this week continue to reflect the important theme of those caring for the wellbeing of others,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “I want to again personally thank our week twelve nominees: the Lutheran Nursing Home staff, Tamara Racino, Kenneth Long II, Dr. Mary Ann Spanos, Rosie Digirolamo, Stephanie Kelly, Charlene Burch, and Brigid Wonderly. These individuals have risen to the challenge of helping others during a global pandemic, and are truly our COVID-19 Heroes.”

The staff at the Lutheran Nursing Home have worked together to keep residents safe, and have had very few residents or staff positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. The team works hard to provide care and activities in a safe manner. They have also done their best to keep families in contact with each other through virtual visits and window visits during this difficult time. The staff deserve recognition for ensuring the health and safety of all their residents!

While Tamara Racino might not be recognized as an “essential worker” in the sense of the definition, she is definitely an essential worker in the eyes of many who are members of her gym, GX Warehouse Fitness and Wellness. From the first week of the Pandemic, Tammy has worked relentlessly to keep everyone connected and active via virtual classes, and once available in-person classes. These virtual classes helped her members keep their sanity and feel connected in a new social distancing reality. Once it was approved to offer in-person classes, she knew there would be members who weren’t ready to do that so she continues to connect them virtually while leading her classes in person. She keeps everyone engaged and has perfected this dual instruction.

Kenneth Long II has been on the front lines daily as an RN in the Emergency Room at Brooks Memorial Hospital. Day in and day out, he is faced with taking care of patients with COVID-19 and other illnesses and ensuring their best health and treatment is achieved. He puts himself aside and always puts others first.

Dr. Mary Ann Spanos is the director of the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services, and was a key leader in facilitating the vaccine waiting list for seniors. Early in the vaccine process when appointments were very limited, she recognized many seniors may have a difficult time navigating the website to schedule an appointment. By quickly coordinating with other agencies, she developed a system where seniors could call NY Connects who would then put their information on a waiting list, helping thousands of seniors to get their vaccine.

Rosie Digirolamo works as the nurse at Falconer Central School where she takes care of all the students, staff, and coaches. Rosie is awesome and never lets anything slip through the cracks. As a school nurse caring for the wellbeing of the Falconer community throughout the pandemic she is a great nominee as a COVID-19 hero.

Stephanie Kelly is an RN at Heritage Village and has gone above and beyond to make sure her residents have had the best care possible during this pandemic. Carelessly coming in early and staying late nights, never leaving her fellow coworkers stranded. Her passion and dedication to her career are admirable.

Charlene Burch also works at Heritage Village in Gerry and always puts the needs of her residents first. She is a team player, always pitching in when she can, and has been a great leader for her coworkers during these trying times.

Brigid Wonderly is the Infection Control Nurse at UPMC Chautauqua. When the first symptomatic patients started coming to the ER, Brigid was there doing the swabbing. She has worked 7-days per week since the start, and tracks all of the data the hospital sends daily to the state department of health. She does all of the internal COVID-19 tracing of patients and staff as well. Brigid ensures everyone has and is using proper PPE, and educates staff and patients alike on precautions they should take. With all of the daily pressures of her job she has never been anything but compassionate, professional and caring. UPMC Chautauqua is proud to have Brigid on their team.

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