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Weyburn health care workers treated to special evening by Rotary Club

Representatives from 11 health care facilities, long-term care homes and services based in Weyburn attended the evening and received certificates of appreciation

WEYBURN – Representatives of 11 public and private health care facilities in Weyburn were treated to an evening of music and a catered supper on Thursday, and were presented with certificates of appreciation for the work they have been doing in the last two years to help the community through the COVID pandemic.

The supper was held at McKenna Hall, who also catered a roast beef supper, and harpist Sharon Elliott, and the duo of Peggy Kosior and Armin Roettger supplied live music.

The emcee for the evening was Rotary Club president Doug Loden, who explained the purpose of the entire evening was a way to pass on gratitude to all of the health care workers who helped keep residents safe from the pandemic, often from the front lines.

The Rotarians want to thank the health care workers because they work to help save lives, and during COVID, that meant working at times in danger, in confusion and in the midst of hostility, and with physical and emotional exhaustion, he said.

“The CDC says there was 6.3 million deaths from COVID, others estimate maybe 10 or 15 million deaths worldwide. There were one million deaths in the United States, 41,000 deaths in Canada, and 1,300 deaths in Saskatchewan. And COVID has complications, and long-term COVID troubles that last a very long time. In real danger of a deadly virus, you kept working. Thank you,” said Loden.

In reference to confusion, he noted there were vastly different ways of understanding the virus from government, health officials, the public, social media and other media platforms.

“And then the politicians make their decisions. Sometimes they listen to good advice and sometimes they choose who knows what path. There are so many ideas out there, some helpful, some useless, and others quite dangerous. In all of this confusion, you kept working. Thank you,” he said.

Referencing the reaction of the public, Loden noted that some people hated the masks, some hated the vaccines and the limits on social gatherings during the pandemic.

“Even with the masks, the vaccines and limiting the social contacts, hospitals and hospital staff were nearly overwhelmed. It would have been very much worse without the limiting measures. The people who were angry at these preventative health measures sometimes took out their anger on health care workers, probably on some of you. … Angry words to nurses doing their best to care for people was not at all fitting. How incredibly foolish to take out hostility on the ones who are saving lives. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. In the hostility, you kept working. Thank you,” he said.

Loden added the acknowledgement that many health care workers kept on in spite of their exhaustion, noting, “You and health care workers around the world are battling the danger, the confusion, the hostility and it’s sometimes exhausting. In all the trouble you kept working, doing your job, helping people, and for this we say a massive thanks.”

Explaining what was behind the certificates, Loden noted they are from the Rotary Foundation, which provides funding to projects around the world that help people according to what their needs are.

The certificates are like a Paul Harris Award, which recognizes groups for their contributions to the community, he said. “It is an award for making a significant contribution in helping people. And this is what you have been doing, helping people, through all these difficult days.”

Prior to the certificates being handed out, Loden asked that each department make a copy of it to give to every worker, every person who worked to provide services and care during the pandemic.

“The award is not just for you here, it is for all the coworkers. We couldn’t invite everyone, there are too many of you. But, here is how it works, you get the dinner, and you get the homework. The others need to hear some thanks as well. They need to hear some words of encouragement, from us, through you,” said Loden.

“My hope is that our evening will in some small way inspire others to make some outward show of appreciation to health care workers, as so many are needing some encouragement,” he said, before leading everyone to give a standing ovation to all health care workers.

Members of the organizing committee handed out the certificates to the individuals or groups from each of the facilities or services. These included staff from Mental Health and Addictions, Home Care, Tatagwa View, Weyburn Special Care Home, Midtown Care Home, Hill Top Manor, Parkway Lodge, Eden Homes, Weyburn Public Health, Weyburn Emergency Medical Services and the Weyburn General Hospital.