When times get tough, like now during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s understandable that some people might feel paralyzed, not knowing what they can do to make a positive impact. Other people are able to jump in quickly and provide help in a constructive way. Veronica Cessford, the business development coordinator at Countryside Rehab and Healthcare Center in Palm Harbor, Florida, is an example of the latter group.

We have all seen news reports about how personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to keep people safe from the coronavirus, and the supply is not always enough to match the current need. When Veronica and her daughter, Hannah (14), saw that, they jumped into action. According to Andrea Mattern, who nominated Veronica for the CHIRPs spotlight, “Veronica spent her weekend finding supplies and making washable face masks with her daughters for our staff to help in conserving PPE. She also did extensive research to ensure that the masks met specific standards.” Veronica’s younger daughter, Addison (10), also pitched in, and together they were able to produce 100 masks in one weekend! Veronica told us that the project kept her girls busy for that weekend, and she “had an amazing feeling as a mom,” because her girls felt such a sense of accomplishment too. The washable masks are more comfortable than other masks, and are especially good for non-direct care staff. The family is working on another 100 masks for another care center, and then will make masks for local hospitals.

In Andrea’s nomination of Veronica, she also said, “Veronica goes above and beyond on a daily basis, always ready to help as she is needed, in any way. She is the smiling face that greets all admissions and family members. Veronica is an asset to any team and we are grateful to have her on ours.” You might wonder what motivates Veronica, and she has a simple answer, “It’s the residents. They are the highlight of our days.” Veronica told us that her favorite thing about working at Countryside is “definitely the family atmosphere among the staff. We have become especially close during COVID-19.”

As the staff at Countryside continues to lovingly protect its residents, we know that the core values of Veronica and the rest of the staff will continue to guide them to serve with compassion and integrity.

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