There is no doubt this coronavirus pandemic has stolen a lot from everyone, including loved ones, jobs and traditions. Finding happy moments amid a pandemic has been a unique challenge, but it is a challenge many around Connecticut have taken on by doing random acts of kindness.
At the very beginning of January 2020, the World Health Organization announced a pneumonia-like sickness that had sickened dozens of people in Wuhan, China. That sickness would end up becoming what we now know as COVID-19. By mid-March, COVID-19 had spread across the world and WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic. March 7 marks a year since the first case of coronavirus was announced in Connecticut when a hospital employee tested positive for coronavirus.
It wasn't long before much of the state shut down, schools went remote and our basic way of living was changed.
Finding joy and ways to take mental health breaks became difficult, but not impossible, with the help of others. Here are some times our residents stepped up to help and celebrate one another.
Stepping Up With PPE
Sally Allen, of Bristol, is a retired home health aid who has sewn hundreds of masks. She has donated them to workers at Fresenius Kidney Care Dialysis Clinic and the Root Center for Advanced Recovery in Bristol. She has also shipped masks across the state and other states including MA, NY, TX, FL, IL and CA.
In Cheshire, doctors offices and health care providers were scrambling to find personal protective equipment, but volunteers came together to donate cloth masks to help some healthcare heroes preserve their N-95 masks. United Steel CEO Keith Corneau heard the call for donations and loaded a car with cases of N-95 masks.
“We decided that we wanted to donate them to our healthcare workers, obviously knowing they are in a much more difficult position than we are,” said Corneau.
Staff at Quinnipiac University set up a packaging station for a massive donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.
Some educators even came out of retirement to lend a hand. A 92-year-old retired West Hartford teacher learned how to sew masks and started teaching others to do the same on FaceTime.
The Year of Birthday Parades
From birthdays for 6-year-olds to those celebrating their hundredth birthday, many families, friends and first responders joined in on countless birthday parades to help make the first day in their new age special.
More than 50 people packed into 14 different cars to wish Sammy Peck a happy sixth birthday in Vernon. Sammy hadn't been able to have a proper birthday celebration for the last two years due to his mother's illness.
First responders all across the state have come together to celebrate birthdays and special events while keeping at a safe social distance, but this time, it was the first responders who were being celebrated.
Friends and family came out to celebrate 100-year-old Anne Fiyalka's birthday with a drive-thru parade in Easton
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
In Bristol, one family gave thanks to a man who has made it his mission to donate generators to at least 17 families. The couple along with their two kids were in the dark for three nights, experiencing hot temperatures inside their home. PowerSports LLC Owner, Jamie Sewell, heard about the Ficaro family's situation and offered to help install a generator and a portable air conditioning unit free of charge.
Chelsea started Chelsea’s Charity which provides art kits for kids in need. She has made and mailed over 2,500 kits, some of which went to 2nd graders at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford.
A retired Newington teacher, Terri Buganski, saw the need and decided to help her fellow New Englanders by volunteering at the Foodshare distribution site almost everyday for the last year at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
During the season of giving, 16-year-old Liam Wright and two Suffield High School classmates started a program called “Keep Smiling Seniors.” The idea was to bring a little joy to the senior citizen community around Suffield. The crew assembled gift baskets and made over 100 Secret Santa deliveries to seniors around town.
Communities Thanking Everyday Heroes
From grocery store workers, to delivery personnel, to healthcare workers, it was all hands on deck to celebrate essential workers.
Christine is a PA at Hartford Hospital that got moved from Cardiac Surgery to the ICU due to COVID-19. This picture with her son, Ben, was taken at the South Windsor hero parade.
Residents in South Windsor surprised Connecticut State Senator Dr. Saud Anwar with a parade to show their gratitude for the work he’s doing on the front lines as a lung doctor at Manchester Memorial Hospital.
The acts of kindness don't just stop here. You can click here to see a list of more of our local heroes.