This is a copy of Sandy Rousse’s end-of-year letter to Central Vermonters. It was published in the winter edition of our community newsletter, Housecalls. Our office will close at 2:00 pm on Christmas Eve and be closed for regular business on Christmas Day. Both days, our on-call service will be taking all calls that come in to the agency and routing them accordingly. We will have staff on-call to care for patients as needed. We reopen for business on Monday, December 28.
Earlier this year, Alex Boguzewski, a jack-of-all-trades who works for CVHHH as a Personal Care Attendant (PCA), Telehealth Technician, and Community Health Worker, ran into Brian Peete, Montpelier’s Chief of Police, at Tractor Supply. The two got to talking, and the idea for a drive-by thank you parade for CVHHH staff was born. Chief Peete took the lead coordinating the event and, with Alex, gathered a group of local first responders to honk and flash their way down Granger Road in Berlin in front of our office and many staff on a chilly October morning. Middlesex, East Montpelier, and Montpelier Fire Departments, Montpelier and Berlin Police Departments, and Barre City Ambulance, participated in a spectacular show of appreciation for our efforts to keep Central Vermonters healthy and safe during the pandemic.
The parade (video here) was short—maybe two and a half minutes—but it made an impression on me and on our staff, who have gone above and beyond to ensure Central Vermonters, including COVID-positive individuals, got the care, education, and support they needed, even as cases of the coronavirus surged in our community.
When we asked Chief Peete what inspired him, he said: “We want to be there to show you that we’re in the fight with you to bring hope, comfort, and help to everyone.” To say that I felt honored by this gesture, and by Chief Peete’s kind words, is an understatement.
The parade reminded me of the importance of seeking out and acknowledging the good around us. When I walk the hallways at CVHHH, meet with staff, and listen to morning clinician huddle calls, I see one example after another of empathy and compassion in action. The pandemic mounted many challenges for CVHHH staff—strict infection controls, screening measures, and other limitations that added steps to already busy schedules—and they did not miss a beat. We did not close our doors once during the pandemic. We never stopped accepting referrals. In fact, we expanded services, offering COVID-19 testing in the community, facilitating delivery of frozen meals, and ensuring our clients’ medical and emotional needs were met.
In return, you rallied behind us when we needed you most with donations of all kinds, financial and in-kind gifts, face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, boxed lunches, and your time. This has been a challenging year (another understatement), but the willingness of this community to come together and to support one another, and businesses like CVHHH, is stronger than ever. I am humbled by your generosity. We could not do our work without you.
I wish all of you a very happy holiday season and a safe and healthy new year.