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An abundance of gratitude

Tis the season to be thankful, and while this year has provided many challenges, there is so much to be thankful for. In today’s times of adversity, I believe it has been the gift of gratitude that has enabled UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge to really thrive. We’re into our ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic (which seems unreal) and as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I’m thinking about all the many things that deserve some reflection and my gratitude.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge family. Both caregivers and those behind the scenes have put their hearts into providing care for the well, the very sick and everyone in between. Through the thick and thin they continue to persevere for our patients and have shown their support for one another. I’ve been proud to witness their grit and the positive outcomes they create daily. I’d like to especially recognize our employees who were chosen for Employee of the Month throughout the year for going above and beyond their duties and making a positive difference within our organization.

I’d also like to give Amy Palmer a special shout out for being named our 2020 Employee of the Year. Amy was nominated for always lending a helping hand and for her positive energy. She genuinely cares for those around her and is always helping our organization achieve our vision. In addition, Amy is always making those around her feel like they matter by praising them for a job well done, telling them how much she appreciates them or finding a way to brighten their day.

In addition to our team, I cannot express how grateful I am for the overwhelming support from our community and everyone who has stepped up to help us this year. We received everything from cookies to smoothies, chicken dinners to pasta meals and doughnuts too! A few of our community partners provided meals for the entire organization including pizza from Amigos and Casey’s, and ice cream from the Dariette. We’ve had area seamstresses who donated their time, skills and fabric to provide over 3,000 cloth masks for our team. In addition, we have had many donors who contributed to our COVID fund in raising $100,000 for installing negative air flow in CCU and ER rooms, other equipment and purchasing meals for team members. I’m also extremely grateful for the local support we continue to receive for ongoing asks to help support and enhance health care services and programs at Trinity Regional Medical Center, Berryhill Center and UnityPoint Clinic unrelated to COVID. Thank you to all who have shown their support for us!

UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge has truly been blessed to be a blessing this year – not just in caring for the community but also continuing to be a resource to many as we continue to navigate the pandemic. However, this year has also inspired us and I’m thankful we’ve been able to give back in unique ways to show how much the community means to us. Here are a few examples of how we have given back to the community:

• May Day Baskets – COVID-19 has been exceptionally hard on our long-term care facilities. The isolation felt by residents has been heartbreaking yet deemed necessary for the safety of this high-risk population. Because UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge works so closely with area care facilities, we wanted to find a way to help bring a smile to their faces and to let them know how much they matter to us, so we delivered over 750 residents a May Day Basket.

• Taco Tico Vouchers – We know it was an especially hard year for our senior graduates, and we wanted the class of 2020 to know we cared about them and we are proud of the way they have handled the challenges they faced their senior year. UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge gave each Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond graduate a voucher to Taco Tico to celebrate their accomplishments and congratulate them on a job well done.

• Care Mail – The UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge team came up with an idea to create “care mail” and recruited kids to help. The ‘Care Mail’ program was kicked off between the Marian Home and the fourth-grade students from St. Edmond Catholic School. Not only are the fourth graders learning the lost art of a handwritten letter, more importantly, they are receiving the gift of friendship with some very special people.

• Pedometers – We donated 175 pedometers for St. Mary School 100 Mile Challenge.

• Hand Sanitizer Stations – We provided seven hand sanitizer stations to local schools to use at athletic events to help keep athletes and spectators safe and healthy.

• Thankful Thursdays – Selected Thursdays throughout November (and December) were/are designated for employees to give back. Our team is collecting monetary donations to put towards toiletry items, nonperishable food items and cold weather items to support those in need within our community.

• Lights at Kennedy – While December isn’t quite here, we are excited to announce we’ll have a light display again this year at Lights at Kennedy.

In addition to our UnityPoint Health team and community, I am grateful for our patients. Our patients are the center of everything we do, and we are privileged to get the opportunity to care for each and every one of them. We are here for those special moments when babies are born and all the moments there after. Regardless of their stage life, or what kind of care they are receiving, we are honored to be a part of our patients’ care.

This year celebrating Thanksgiving will likely look different. Deciding whether to see family for the holiday is just plain hard. What you choose to do is up to you, but I challenge you to do two things. Regardless of how you celebrate take time to reflect on all the things – big and small – you are thankful for. As you can see, the list can add up in a hurry. Second, on behalf of every single care team member who is exhausted, stressed and overworked — that you please be responsible.

• Wear masks.

• Socially distance if you can.

• Try to keep gatherings small.

• Do your best to stay clear of those not following proper safety guidelines.

Everyone wants this pandemic to be over, but until that’s possible, please make good, safe choices.

Leah Glasgo is president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge

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