Community contributes $30,000 to thank hometown healthcare heroes

(Courtesy photo)

What started as an effort by two women to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Sheridan County and keep the community safe turned into a movement that’s generated over $30,000 in gifts to the estimated 1,000-plus healthcare workers in Sheridan County.

Ada Kirven, who’s director of donor relations for the Sheridan Memorial Hospital Foundation, said the effort started after local attorney Deb Wendtland saw Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s video asking for people in the community to wear masks and social distance to help slow spread of the virus.

Kirven Wendtland and her friend Julie Gerlach went from wanting to be part of that effort to a desire to do more.

According to a news release from the hospital, community contributions have been put to work buying food, gifts and other donations through locally owned and operated businesses to be distributed throughout a “Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness” event held this month.

Kirven said the hospital’s own Reward and Recognition team had already planned the event for hospital staff, but as a result of the community response to Wendtland’s and Gerlach’s efforts, the event was broadened to include healthcare workers throughout the community.

From Dec. 3 through Friday, the hospital foundation has worked with the Reward & Recognition team to reward workers with gifts from hot chocolate to gift certificates. According to the release, any surplus funds will be used for necessary personal protective equipment for hospital staff and patients.

In coordination with the Sheridan Memorial Hospital Foundation, gifts were accepted through First Federal Bank and Trust and the foundation’s online or mail-in contribution.

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