‘Brighter days’ seen at WCA Home
When things inside the WCA Home in Fredonia were at its worst, administrator Tammy McCool found a bit of solace in the overwhelming support from the community.
The COVID-19 outbreak, she said, took hold in the Temple Street facility on Jan. 18 and the last positive case came exactly one month later on Feb. 18. Once it was reported that the virus was sweeping through the home, concerned and thoughtful community members did their best to show support.
“It was very unexpected,” McCool said. “And at times it just took you back and made you think people do care.”
Several different demographics of people reached out in support, including students from the high school, college, several different church groups, and just concerned citizens. And given that this occurred right around Valentine’s Day, the support from the community shared that theme of love.
“The amount of stuff that was sent in the weeks prior and the week following Valentine’s Day was incredible,” McCool said. “Every day we gave residents or staff flowers, carnations, cards, or candy. Kids from school hand made cards, people from churches did too, the enormous outpour of love, concern, and support, was mind boggling in many ways. It put us all in a different state of mind.”
McCool described the stretch as “one of the roughest times I could remember,” in her 25 years at the home, but not once did she ever hear any employee complain during the stretch. Even working at a reduced staff because of the circumstances, McCool said all of the employees at the Home stepped up and did their best.
“I’ve never seen such a sense of teamwork as I sensed during that month,” McCool said. “This whole year has been a team building experience. We had to have all components of all departments on the same page. I had staff coming in six or seven days a week just to get us through. They filled in different shifts on their days off, and never once did I hear anyone complain or take a deep sigh. All I heard was can-do attitudes, concern for fellow coworkers, and concern for the sickness in the home.”
The highlight of the time though for many of the residents and staff were the snowmen that students built outside the facility. “I saw residents cry happy tears, knowing that they’re remembered and thought of in community by pure strangers,” McCool said. “We had students come and build snowmen out front, and residents could look out the windows and see kids building snowmen, and even in the days afterwards, it brought smiles of the memories of watching the kids.”
Outside of flowers, candy, and cards, many people also gifted crossword puzzles, adult coloring books, and other things for the residents to do while they were confined to their rooms. Between all of the donations from the community, and all of the people who volunteered their time or donated items, McCool, the staff, and the residents of the WCA Home felt better seeing the appreciation and support Fredonia gave to them.
“So many church groups, school kids, college kids showed their support,” McCool said. “It was such a wide range throughout the whole community that we constantly saw the outpour of concern. I just want to thank everybody who thought of WCA home residents and staff, it definitely helped us make brighter days out of the gloomy days we faced.”