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frontline workers

Photo by Kimberly Brown

By Kimberly Brown

Whether it is nurses taking care of COVID-19 patients, or Stop & Shop supermarket employees providing food for their community, the Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce felt it was only appropriate to gather residents to salute frontline heroes and essential workers last Saturday.

“To all of our essential workers, and to all who have helped our community in the midst of this difficult time, thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Gary Pollakusky, president of RPSB chamber. “You’ve helped keep things together, and now life is returning back to normal.”

A leader in the pandemic has been Stony Brook University Hospital. The doctors, nurses and physicians have spent countless hours volunteering their time, playing a pivotal role to help stop the spread. 

Carol Gomes, chief executive officer and chief operating officer at SBU Hospital, credits her team as the overall backbone in response to COVID-19 in Suffolk County — which has had the lowest mortality rate across the downstate region. 

“We have weathered an incredibly difficult storm, but our health care heroes rose to the occasion, not once, but twice during surges and continue to do so every day as the pandemic still does continue,” Gomes said.

Photo by Kimberly Brown

According to the hospital, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 200,000 Suffolk County residents have tested positive for coronavirus and more than 3,000 have lost their lives. 

“We grieve with the families that have experienced loss but, as more people become fully vaccinated, we remain hopeful for brighter tomorrows,” she added.

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) also made an appearance at the event to express his gratitude toward the frontline heroes and essential workers. 

According to Palumbo, during the pandemic, government officials were able to continue working using Zoom. However, firefighters and police officers did not have that same option, making them true frontline heroes.

“You had to suit up and go into the belly of the beast, so when we use the phrase ‘frontlines,’ a military phrase, you were all absolutely the tip of the spear,” he said.

The ceremony concluded with a car caravan past the honorees through Rocky Point to Rocky Point Funeral Home.

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Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Museum
The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport will thank First Responders, Frontline Workers, and their families by offering them complimentary admission on Saturday and Sunday, October 24 and 25, from noon to 5 p.m. “We salute the brave men and women who make sacrifices and face danger every day to respond to emergencies, work the front lines, and keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, executive director of the Vanderbilt.
(This includes police and firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers and school employees, utility and healthcare workers, cashiers in grocery and general merchandise stores, truck drivers, and people who work in food-processing, maintenance, and agriculture.)

“We’re offering free admission because these people are our neighbors and they provide essential services,” Wayland-Morgan said. “They risk physical injury and exposure to toxic substances and to the coronavirus,” she said. “It’s hard on their spouses, families and children. A fun day at the Vanderbilt is one way to thank them.”

Guests will be asked for ID cards or proof of affiliation.

The Hall of Fishes, the Vanderbilt marine museum, is open as are the collections galleries and the wild-animal dioramas. The Mansion living quarters remain closed. The Reichert Planetarium will remain closed until New York State permits theaters to reopen.

For more information, visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

SPREADING SUNSHINE A homemade sign in front of a home on Blue Point Road in Selden on May 2 thanks those on the frontlines. Photo by Heidi Sutton
2020 Heroes

Goodness may surround us,

In the least expected place,

Anonymously given

And left without a trace.

A favor from a neighbor,

Food left by the door,

A funny joke that’s sent

And leaves us hoping for some more.

Supermarket staff who are

Quick with ready smiles,

Who offer help and guidance,

Amid some empty aisles. 

Sanitation workers,

Those who bring the mail,

Instructors at computers

Teaching students to prevail. 

The nurses and the doctors,

Hidden by their masks,

Selflessly report each day

To undertake their tasks. 

Those who follow orders

To hunker in their homes,

And face their isolation

With humor and aplomb.

Leaders we rely on

Not to drop the ball.

These, the caring givers,

Are heroes to us all.

                                                       By Ellen Mason, Stony Brook