TC Villas’ Front-Line Hero Nominations

After receiving hundreds of nominations, all for well-deserving, hard-working individuals, the task of selecting a winner became extraordinarily difficult. We would have loved to welcome each and every one of you and we hope to get a chance to do this all over again. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the (many) nominations we received.


Jacqui:

Jacqui has been through so much in the past year, her 6 year old was diagnosed with cancer and also she took on a new job within a year at Exton Senior Living as their Resident Care Director. Exton senior living struggled with staffing which forced Jacqui to work long days (a lot of doubles) on the floor doing resident care.

She was never above working bedside and being hands-on, she actually loved it. During all this COVID, Exton’s Executive director contracted COVID which forced Jacqui to work more long days and be a leader at the facility. Abbie (her daughter) has had clear scans for 6 months now but Jacqui deserves this trip for a chance for her and her husband to relax and breathe.


James: Winner!

I am proud to nominate my husband, James because I believe that he deserves this treat after all of this is over. My husband has been working as a Respiratory Therapist for 15 years now. When this COVID19 happened, he has been working 6 days a week on a 12-hour shift every night. I lost my job due to our clinic’s closure because of COVID19 and since then, James had been supporting our family.

Despite working almost every night, he never failed to make us breakfast EVERY day like he always does. He does the groceries and errands by himself because he doesn’t want us to be exposed to any possibility of acquiring the virus. He helps our son do his math homework before he goes to sleep too! It may sound like I’m not doing anything at all but I don’t want to take any credit for something that he solely deserves. We missed him a lot lately, so on his days off, he still makes sure that he spends time with us.

He’d grill some barbeque for us, we spend some time outside — like take a walk as a family in our neighborhood and he teaches our son how to ride a bike and play basketball with him. James is an amazing dad to our son, a wonderful and loving husband to me, a caring son to his parents and siblings — he took care of his mom who got infected with the virus both at home and at work! He is also a compassionate friend and co-worker — he’d ask me to bake some goodies for his colleagues and buys me materials to make face shields that he can bring and share at work when there was a shortage.

I know that he was overwhelmed and exhausted when this all happened but I never heard him complain. He’d take requests for covering shifts if needed as long as he can do it. I always ask him how’s work and he’d always say that it’s okay. He assures me that he is okay as long as he gets enough sleep before work and we always make sure that he does. He always tells me not to worry because he is being extra careful at work. He hopes that this will be over soon. His only prayer is that he doesn’t get the virus and get us sick as well. With all these hardships and grueling work hours, I believe that my husband, James, deserves to win this trip to paradise. He’d always wanted to go to Turks and Caicos and this will be a great present for somebody who has sacrificed and devoted his life to helping and serving others, especially at these uncertain times. We are very proud of him! James is our Hero!


Ashley:

Ashley is a wife and a mother of two boys. She is always involved in the small-town community and goes above and beyond for anyone whenever they need it. When New York needed help, of course, Ashley was the first to volunteer. Ashley left her husband and her two beautiful children behind in Kansas, got on a flight to New York City with one of her best friends who is also a nurse, and dove headfirst into the front lines to do anything she could to help.

While in New York, she documented the whole thing and posted videos to answer questions people were asking and to help people better understand the severity of what was going on. Ashley never questioned going, she just knew that people needed her help and she was capable of helping. She knew her sons were in good hands with people who loved them at home, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard as a mother to leave them behind. After coming back to Kansas from being in New York for a month, she had to quarantine herself for another 2 weeks in a hotel to be sure she didn’t spread the virus to her family. Ashley is a perfect example of someone who is selfless and does whatever she can for the greater good of humanity. She deserves a trip of a lifetime to thank her for all of her hard work and selflessness.


John:

Big moments in life have a way of shaping you and defining the way you impact those around you. Two years ago, the love of my life John Geneta, on his 29th birthday (April 6, 2018) was told he had stage 4 IGA Nephropathy and would need an immediate kidney transplant to avoid dialysis and complete kidney failure. This was after two months of passing the certified occupation therapy assistant board exam. John was eager to continue his 11 years of service at Care One Valley, but this time he would be part of the Rehab Team as an occupational therapist assistant. John thankfully received a kidney on July 26th, 2019, and he returned to work 3 months after.

John proposed to me on Feb 2019, we got married on January 2, 2020. Life was truly good. Then COVID hit. On March 10th, 2002 John got extremely sick during his quarterly visit to St Barnabas Transplant Center. High fever, chills, fatigue, etc….his transplant team called various centers to get him tested and each location denied him. John self quarantined for 3 weeks and had no choice but to use 15 days of vacation time. He returned to work three weeks later, and his rehab team of 7 became a team of 3 as everyone began to get sick.

John has been a healthcare worker for 13 years. It is more than a job to him. He became a hero to me and many others because he sacrificed his health to serve others despite being an immunocompromised person. I was very hesitant for him to return to work during COVID, but John insisted he had to be there for his work family and nursing home. My husband knew how fortunate he was to have a job and an essential role to care for the sick. Therefore, every paycheck he would donate groceries to the Bergenfield COVID Food Bank weekly, and he inspired family members, friends, and strangers to donate. During the quarantine, John sent packages to family members and friends to bring a little cheer to their homes from cookies, banana pudding, honey, and specialty cooking oils.

John’s selflessness has inspired me to be kind not just with words but your actions. More importantly, he has taught me to love your career wholeheartedly, because how you serve others is a great responsibility to humanity.


Garth:

Dear friends at TC Villas, We, the undersigned group of friends who fell in love with TCI last summer during a stay at Impulse Beach Estate, would like to nominate our friend, Garth Rydland for your “Front Line Heroes” salute to care providers. What a wonderful idea to grant a week in paradise to the lucky winner of your generous giveaway! We can think of no one more deserving than Garth!

Garth is the chief executive officer of Valley Senior Living in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA. Valley Senior Living is a 7-facility senior care center including transitional care, independent living, nursing care, and memory care. When we think of “Front Line Heroes,” we don’t often think of administrators, but let us explain why we believe Garth should be considered for your contest. This year and this pandemic have been challenging for our world. Our elders are most at-risk for mortality with this particular virus. We know from our experience that TCI holds elders in extraordinarily high esteem. Garth embodies that spirit.

During the very early stages of the outbreak, before anyone in North Dakota had addressed plans to mitigate the risks associated with the viral outbreak, Garth was on the front lines. Garth worked with our state Governor’s Office to prioritize coronavirus testing for all residents and all nursing staff (1,300 individuals, in total). Garth then created the state’s first comprehensive plan to minimize risk to the residents and staff at Valley Senior Living, including • Rapid reconfiguration of the HVAC systems to create negative pressure zones where infected residents could be safely quarantined from all other residents with love and dignity. • Coordinating a system-wide pledge from staff to inform management of any possible contacts with infected people outside the facility and to utilize the Care 19 app to improve the efficiency of contact tracing. • Novel shift arrangements to ensure minimum extraneous contact within and outside of the facilities. • Securing of blocks of hotel rooms to facilitate compassionate quarantine in the event staff or their families became infected. • Initiation of a cloth mask donation program for caregiving staff and residents to alleviate supply shortcomings during critical periods. • Novel approaches to social congregating to maintain morale during the shutdown period to protect the mental health of elders prevented from outside contact with family and friends. • Role swapping among all staff to ensure all critical functions were maintained during periods of increased sick leave.

The end result of Garth’s quick actions and wise foresight is that, to date, no coronavirus deaths have been reported at any of the facilities he directs. His staff is among the most cared-for staff in North Dakota. His residents are safe. His actions have served as a model for regional hospitals and senior care centers. His tight cooperation with the Governor’s Office and local partners to secure new supply lines for personal protective equipment has saved lives.

During this crisis, Garth’s actions have saved lives and shown love for the staff and elder residents, alike. But, Garth’s own family life and personal health have suffered. With no exaggeration, Garth has not experienced a proper night of sleep since the outbreak began. Many sleepless nights, few hours with family, no downtime, and many nights with multiple emergency meetings at all hours, have all led to concern from Garth’s friends. Garth’s wife, Christine, admires his actions but misses her husband. His friends also miss him. His heart has been completely focused on the health of his residents, for whom he feels genuine love.

Prior to the pandemic, Garth was known to go to the rooms of those in their last hours, and sing “Amazing Grace” with the resident and loved ones as the resident passed. We feel NO ONE would benefit more from a trip to paradise than our deserving friend. We want him to experience the same spirit of love and calm that we experienced during our first trip to your heavenly islands last summer.

Your gift would reward this gentleman who seeks no reward and has acted with a complete lack of selfishness since mid-March. Please consider our friend, Garth, for your contest. He needs the unique healing provided by TCI! –Jay & Erin Almlie, Peter & Lisa Welte, Lizz & Ted Sandberg, and Rob and Laurie Jung.


We’d like to once again thank all our sponsors for helping materialize this dream!

  • Turks & Caicos Travel Services
  • Grace Bay Car Rentals
  • Big Blue Collective
  • Provo Golf Club
  • Provo Ponies
  • Lovina Spa
  • Spa Tropique
  • Plate of Tranquility
  • The Shark Bite Bar & Grill
  • Da Conch Shack
  • Okaicos

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