To thank all front-line employees for their dedication during this critical time, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria recently launched “Hurrahs for Heroes.”
“The bells in the hospital’s impressive bell tower ring at noon daily to show appreciation to the hospital staff and others in the North County and San Luis Obispo County — first responders, grocery workers — everyone working every day to care for the patients as they recover from all illnesses, not just COVID-19,” said Flora Washburn, manager of the spiritual care department and one of the hospital chaplains.
“Included are the family members who can’t visit their loved ones in the hospital. They are doing a job, too.”
Dr. Michael Clayton suggested the bell-ringing idea to Sue Andersen, MRMC president and CEO, who turned it over to Mrs. Washburn and other staff members, Sara San Juan and Heidi Summers, to make it happen.
“Our health care teams have done an amazing job of preparing for COVID-19, and we want to take time to thank them,” said Ms. Andersen. “In addition, we have partnered with local organizations and churches that can offer daily prayer, a ringing of bells, a moment of pause and well-wishes to anyone who needs an outpouring of support while enduring this pandemic.”
Among the churches participating are St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church and St. Louis de Montfort Church in Santa Maria and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and Old Mission San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo.
“After the bells peal for several minutes, the sound of clapping is often heard throughout the hospital,” said Mrs. Washburn. “The response from everyone has been amazing. Many have never heard the hospital bells ring before, and we’ll keep ringing them until this crisis is over.”
Among the special heroes at the hospital are members of the Medically Vulnerable Pediatric (MVP) Coordination Program for infants and children with special medical needs in Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande.
They have been working with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County to deliver boxes of food to their homes.
“Talley Family Farms of Arroyo Grande donated 12 boxes of fresh produce to provide for these families to assist with meeting basic needs,” said Susan Rasmussen, manager of the MVP program which began in 2018.
“Dr. Paul Parker, a pediatric hospitalist, wrote the grant that provided the funding for the program,” said Mrs. Rasmussen. “Its purpose is to help families with infants and children with special medical needs overcome obstacles and challenges.
“The more stable the family is in the home, the better the outcome. When there is a child with special needs, it is very complex, especially in this area which is rural and a four-hour drive to any children’s hospital. It all makes a difference.”
MVP staff are delivering the food on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
“We began March 30 and will continue as long as we can,” said Mrs. Rasmussen, adding that there are approximately 100 families in the program. “We partner with other organizations and agencies like CenCal Health, California Children’s Services and Santa Barbara County Public Health.”
A key component in the MVP program are the five bilingual promotoras.
“Promotoras are Hispanic/Latino community members who receive specialized training to provide basic health education in the community without being a professional health care worker,” she explained.
“Patty Herrera is manager of the team that includes Elizabeth Chavez De Perez, Beatriz Hosp, Letitia Sanchez and Irene Castro.They are my personal heroes.”