Letter: Gratitude for local medical professionals and volunteers

Keep these amazing people in your thoughts

To the Expositor:

I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the brightest, most dedicated hospital, public health and local medical professionals and volunteers over the last six weeks as a volunteer at the COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Little Current. I realize we all have been inconvenienced, suffered, altered our lives, have not seen loved ones, and I wish and pray this all comes to an end soon. But our sacrifice pales to those front-line workers who have tirelessly supported and worked the front lines for more than a year now to ensure our health needs will be met when the time comes. If working on the front lines during a pandemic was not enough to do, these nurses, doctors, clinicians, paramedics and administrators joined a handful of dedicated volunteers to organize, set up and run COVID-19 vaccination clinics on top of their regular workload. They do it with a smile, enthusiasm and a jump in their step; a dedication to us few will ever understand, unfortunately. 

So today, while the media questions everything COVID 24/7, I want to recognize and thank them all for their efforts and dedication to duty. So special shout out to our leaders in this fight, Judy Miller of the Northeast Manitoulin Family Health Team (FHT), Sandra Pennie, Assiginack FHT, and Lori Oswald, Central Manitoulin FHT. Being new to the Island, I have relished in the people that have passed through my welcome desk. I am one of the volunteers and the first touchpoint in the vaccination process they will receive. We see their joy of knowing they will be vaccinated, witnessing firsthand their respect for us, and thanks for the clinic and the ability to be immunized in Little Current. We are surrounded by beautiful people here on Manitoulin Island; these clinics have formalized that fact for me. So, I am asking you to keep these dedicated professionals in your thoughts. Remember, if not for them, this once in a lifetime event would have been much worse. I am also asking you if you can please volunteer at any of the upcoming clinics. We will be at this all summer long and into the fall. You will truly take away more than the hours you will donate and get to meet some of the most wonderful health care professionals this country has. I hope to see you soon.

Tom Ondrejicka

Little Current