Salute to Essential Workers

. May 1, 2020.
EssentialWorkers_Splash_052020

Honoring our hometown heroes

Toledo, like much of the world, has spent the last few months with a shelter-in-place order. While many were fortunate enough to stay inside during that time, others flocked to the front lines to ensure that Toledo remained a safe, healthy and happy community. From grocery store aisles and hospital hallways, essential workers took on the burden of keeping society going— often risking their lives day in, and day out, for limited pay— and we will forever be in their debt.

To show our gratitude, we asked essential workers from all walks of life— including healthcare workers, fast food workers, social workers, cleaners, retail associates, transit workers, home health aides, and more— about the reality of working during the pandemic. Once again, they stepped up, took time out of their already busy lives, and told us about their lives, their works, and what they want the rest of us to know.

Here’s a handful of comments from those essential workers, who are doing much, much more than letting us stay home.

Anne Grady Services

Anne Grady Services

The staff at Anne Grady Services provide care to individuals with intellectual disabilities. They have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to ensure that the individuals we serve are staying safe and healthy. Thank you to the employees at Anne Grady Services for all that you are doing to keep the individuals safe!

Diana & Al Korsog

mother and daughter: Two different hospitals, same caring heart

Mother Diana Korsog (left), is ER Tent Triage, and daughter Al Korsog is an Inpatient nurse for the COVID-19 unit here in Toledo.

Mother Diana Korsog (left), is ER Tent Triage, and daughter Al Korsog is an Inpatient nurse for the COVID-19 unit here in Toledo.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
Al: Laugh because you will cry if you don’t. Smile because we are are still fighting. Be safe. Please be safe.
Diana: We all need each other. We jump in where needed and just keep going!

What should the general public understand about your job?
Al: This is the hardest and by far the most terrifying thing I have ever encountered. We are tired. We are exhausted and it’s nice to be called heroes, but above all, we just want ourselves, our families, your families to be safe and know you’re loved. Your loved ones here are having their hands held and are being comforted I assure you we are not letting them think they are alone in this. I hope that brings you comfort.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
Al: We need PPE WE NEED PPE! I literally yelled that part.
Diana: How much we don’t know.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
Al: To be honest? The heaviness that comes with families not being able to see their loved ones. We become these patients’ families and that’s heavy, it’s scary but I’m gonna be whatever they need.
Diana: Everyone misses “normal” and though we will probably never have the same normal back. I think we’d all settle for safe normal.

Dottie Segur, Executive Director of Sylvania Area Family Services (SAFS)

Keeping our Community Fed

Dottie Segur

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the future has never felt so unpredictable. Many are finding it a challenge to feed their families. I am grateful to be a part of Sylvania Area Family Services (SAFS) for over 17 years. SAFS feeds over 8000 people annually. During this crisis, the need grows daily. Among many of our services, we help students, families and seniors combat food insecurities.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
Though I do not know what the coming hours, days and weeks may hold, I do know that the support of our community is what gives us the power to keep going in the face of a growing pandemic. The lesson I learned is to never underestimate a community; it takes a village to support each other during times of need.

What should the general public understand about your job?
As a frontline worker, it would make our job easier if people would continue to follow the safety guidelines set out by the CDC to keep my staff safe while distribution food bags. What would help me sleep at night would be knowing that we will continue to receive food and funds during this crisis.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
Even though we took every protective measure imaginable, I still contracted COVID-19 from my spouse in mid-April. My biggest concern is the safety of our staff and clients.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
Right now my biggest concern is for my staff’s physical and financial well being during this pandemic.

Brenda Naylor, Infection Preventionist with ProMedica

Brenda Naylor

Dawn your mask!

What should the general public understand about your job?
Brenda puts an enormous amount of energy into her job.

Julie Schantz, Home Health Aide/Certified Medical Assistant

I love my Patients!

Julie Schantz

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
I want to be there for my patients!

What should the general public understand about your job?
We all matter!

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
PPE.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
Keeping our patients safe.

The Walgreens Perrysburg Distribution Center

NOMINATED BY: Jeffery Ratkiewicz.

CUTLINE: We are the Walgreens Perrysburg Distribution Center. We have great team members who have risen to this challenge, and who have given up so much (working 10-14 hr shifts) to help our stores remain open and to protect our customers.

We are the Walgreens Perrysburg Distribution Center. We have great team members who have risen to this challenge, and who have given up so much (working 10-14 hr shifts) to help our stores remain open and to protect our customers.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
The commitment to very long hours (10-14 hr shifts). 5-6/week. While maintaining superior customer service for our stores.

Lisa Richardson, COO of Zepf Center

Hope Begins Here: Essential workers at Zepf Center pose for a picture after work.

Hope Begins Here: Essential workers at Zepf Center pose for a picture after work.

In my role as COO of Zepf Center, I’ve had the honor to work alongside nurses, counselors, doctors and support staff who are providing front-line services for those most in need during the COVID pandemic.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
My heart has been encouraged as I’ve seen the bravery and compassion of our staff as they seek creative solutions during this challenging time, and are working exceptionally hard to make sure that our community is cared for when they need it the most. Addiction and mental health services must continue, however, because we are not in a hospital setting, we’ve had operational challenges that are unique to many nonprofits during this time. Despite any barrier, our staff have risen above and worked together as a family to help others. It’s been extremely special to witness and an experience I will never forget.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
The staff at Zepf Center have made significant personal sacrifices, have given their hearts, and never given up on hope during this challenging time. They are all my heroes and I’m so proud to be one of their leaders during this time.

Manahan Adult Day Program (formerly Josina Lott)

The staff at their residential facility helped the residents create a special thank you banner that included flowers that were made by tracing the residents’ hands. The staff is doing a great job keeping residents busy with activities, taking care of their personal needs, encouraging them to get outside for walks, meals, and more.

The staff at their residential facility helped the residents create a special thank you banner that included flowers that were made by tracing the residents’ hands. The staff is doing a great job keeping residents busy with activities, taking care of their personal needs, encouraging them to get outside for walks, meals, and more.

Staff: Serving Adults with Developmental Disabilities
NOMINATED BY: Melissa Gregg

Manahan provides a home for adults with disabilities. We help them to be all they can be by enriching their lives. Staff assist residents with personal care, meeting goals, community engagement and continual learning.

Myung Armstrong, RN BSN

Throughout history, nurses have always been there during wars and pandemics! I am proud to make a difference!

Throughout history, nurses have always been there during wars and pandemics! I am proud to make a difference!

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
The whole world is connected like it or not. We all have to do our part to make it a better place.

What should the general public understand about your job?
Nurses are passionately committed to caring for others, even at the expense of personal safety. Please take care of yourself and it would make our jobs easier.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
False information from leaders and people believing without due diligence.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
There are several but the most challenging is to keep safe while caring for the sick so that I can take care of the next patient.

Jim Miller, Inventory Control and Marketing Manager at Shrader Tire & Oil.

As an essential business, Shrader Tire & Oil is on the road supporting fleets of vehicles delivering much-needed goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hard work and sometimes hazardous conditions are just part of what our team members experience in providing extreme customer service throughout Toledo and the tri-state region.

As an essential business, Shrader Tire & Oil is on the road supporting fleets of vehicles delivering much-needed goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hard work and sometimes hazardous conditions are just part of what our team members experience in providing extreme customer service throughout Toledo and the tri-state region.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
I hope the experience of the pandemic isn’t forgotten when we think of “essential” workers— the nurses, and health care professionals; the truck drivers and support personnel and countless other unseen heroes who under different circumstances may go unnoticed.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
My biggest concern is beating the virus and restarting the economy again. People need to support their families.

Sarah Steward, Registered Nurse on a busy Medical-Surgical floor.

Sarah Steward

Stay Protected: Gotta be stylish with GUCCI goggles

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
How important it is to take care of yourself. And chose your battles wisely. Helping others are very important.

What should the general public understand about your job?
Wash your hands and learn patience.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
That it will be here. And many people are living in fear.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
Finding out there are so many different forms of this virus. And it can be anywhere and on anything. Be safe!

Connie Croak, RRT taking care of COVID-19 positive patients at Toledo Hospital

NOMINATED BY: Shannon Meyer, sister-in-law

Connie Croak

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
Staying positive for the patients— with stricter visiting regulations it’s just us and them fighting to get/stay healthy.

What should the general public understand about your job?
It’s a responsibility to care for people— and sometimes emotions can be a lot.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
Treasure hugs when you get them and seeing your family— it’s tough missing them now to keep everyone safe and healthy.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
My parents’ health, things coming back worse in the winter.

Te’Andra Guzman, Kroger worker

NOMINATED BY: April Guzman, mother.

Te’Andra Guzman

Every day that Te’Andra has been scheduled to work at Kroger before and during this pandemic she was there. When called to work additional days or hours she was there. Not once did she hesitate. She is definitely devoted to her job and determined to help others especially during this unprecedented time.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
Watching Te’Andra go to work day in and day out and not once complaining or second-guessing it showed me that she is a hero. She has definitely opened my eyes to see the importance of grocery workers.

Jessica Darrington & Jacqueline Dunbar: Sister-Heroes

NOMINATED BY: Mother Janaline Darrington. “I love them for their bravery! God bless all heroes!”

Janaline Darrington

Jessica Darrington (left) is a frontline worker stocking the shelves of Walmart in Houston, Texas. She is a BUCKEYE, a graduate of both Start High School and Bowling Green State University, but moved to Houston two years ago. She is working hard to ensure customers are Helped in a Friendly, Kind Way!

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
Jessica: That EVERYONE Needs HELP!!

What should the general public understand about your job?
Jessica: We can only put on the shelves that they send us. The hardest-hit states will get a greater shipment of critical products.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
Jessica: Wearing a mask is essential/vital in helping deter the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your/ the person to be recognized’s job these days?
Jessica: Being yelled at constantly by customers. Most customers don’t understand that employees do call off. We are at times short-staffed. Products are on backorder.

Jacqueline Dunbar (right), is the baby sister. She works in St. V’s Registration Department helping with the admission of patients into the Emergency Room. She is also a graduate of both Start High School and Bowling Green State University. Jacqueline is thoughtful and loving— when you encounter Jacqueline’s SMILE you will just feel better.

What “life lesson” did you learn during the coronavirus pandemic?
Jacqueline: That Children NEED Special Care an ATTENTION.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
Jacqueline: How we can come together to help one another in this crisis and just everyday life. Let’s have a better, friendly neighborhood-ship.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job these days?
Jacqueline: When children come in with no parents and need help, and there is only so much I can do, especially when the patient is underage. It breaks my heart.

Amy and Ron Duschl, owners of Hot Head Burrito Sylvania.

hot head burritos 1

NOMINATED BY Susan Vild: “I nominate my friends Amy and Ron Duschl, owners of Hot Head Burrito Sylvania, because of their generous business donations. They have donated and delivered more than 1500 burrito bowl/meals to frontline workers, with the help of donations from the community. They have received help from friends from their church in delivery. Their generosity deserves recognition! Amy has also been a nurse for more than 30 years.”

NOMINATED BY Hannab Duschl: “Hot Head Burritos-Sylvania owners, Ron and Amy Duschl, are sending food to essential workers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, and the like to thank them for their hard work in these times. Amy does this in her spare time from working as a nurse in our community. Now we want to thank YOU!

hot head burritos 2

What “life lesson” did you learn from Ron and Amy during the coronavirus pandemic?
These two people have shown more love, gratitude, and selflessness than I thought possible when they themselves are struggling to keep the business afloat. Since March, they have been sending food to multiple Toledo Fire Stations, Toledo Hospitals, doctor’s offices and more to thank our essential workers all while they are working to keep their local, small business alive. Beyond that, Amy Duschl works as a nurse at St. Anne’s and St. Charles hospital and has been helping her husband, Ron Duschl, with these donations in her spare time. If everyone had a little of these characteristics, these times would go by much easier.

What should the general public understand about Ron and Amy’s job?
The public should understand the hearts these two have, and there is no better way than just to show their support to their local business and others and to all the frontline workers that work endlessly day by day to keep us all afloat.

What are your biggest concerns regarding the crisis, now and in the future?
The biggest concern is how we will rise together to get our economy back on track and how to show support to the enormous amount of families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

What’s the most challenging aspect of Ron and Amy’s job these days?
Ron and Amy Duschl are working every day tirelessly to support the community and do what they can to protect their business. The most challenging aspect of the business is the lack of sleep to keep everything running, and for Amy, as a nurse, while she makes it look easy, she continually shows courage and love to these families in these times.

Seeking Work? 

More than 36 million Americans have claimed unemployment during the pandemic. If you are out of a job and are able and willing to work during the pandemic, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/jobsearch. The website was created by Ohio’s Office of Workforce Transformation and includes available job listings statewide from hundreds of employers providing critical services. 

Share your story

Are you an essential worker who wants to get something off their chest? We’d love to hear your story, opinions, advice, rants, or anything else you want people to know. Send us an email at submissions@adamsstreetpublishing.com or call 567-316-0055‬ to leave a message on our hotline.