Community asked to rally around health care staff

By Vicky O. Misa | | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
The Avedis Foundation is inviting everyone in the community to rally around local health care professionals next week in appreciation of their service through the pandemic crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has been taking a toll on those in the health care field.

The Avedis Foundation is inviting everyone in the community to rally around local health care professionals to offer encouragement and show appreciation for their service through the pandemic crisis.

“Beds are full at the hospital and they have been working long, extended hours,” Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said. “They are really hurting now.”

In support, Mayor Ed Bolt made a proclamation this week, naming Dec. 13-19, 2020, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Shawnee Healthcare Heroes Appreciation Week.

“The Merriam-Webster definition of hero is, a person admired for achievements and noble qualities; one who shows great courage; the central figure in an event, period or movement; or an object of extreme admiration and devotion,” he read from the document Monday. “After COVID-19, another definition should be added to the dictionary, healthcare professional.”

He encouraged all residents to show support of those in the field by wearing blue and attending a virtual Facebook Live celebration on the SSM page at 10 a.m. Dec. 17, 2020.

Ahead of the event, a banner of support is and has been circulating around the area for people to sign.

The Avedis Foundation made a banner residents can sign to encourage health care workers during the pandemic.

Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center Manager Erin Stevens of Spectra has been taking the banner to a different site each day to give people an opportunity to add their thoughts and names, Laster said.

She said during the 15-minute Facebook Live event Thursday morning, the banner will be unveiled — along with some other planned presentations and surprises. Also, window art will be displayed at the South and West Main Entrances at the hospital.

For those who have not yet signed it, the banner will be available:

• from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Friday at First National Bank in Shawnee;

• from 9 a.m. until noon Monday during the County Commissioner meeting at Tecumseh City Hall;

• from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday at First United Bank in Tecumseh;

• from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday at YMCA, in Shawnee; and

• from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Avedis Foundation lobby, in Shawnee

Laster said the banner and the Facebook Live event do not, by any means, have to be the only expression of support for these local heroes.

“We would love to hear more ideas and see what others are coming up with to show their support and appreciation,” she said. “This is really a time our local health care staff and employees need to feel bolstered by the community.”

Residents are welcome to express their appreciation by mailing thank you messages or words of encouragement to 1102 W. MacArthur, Shawnee, OK 74804.

To offer other ideas about how the community can show support, contact Communications and Marketing Consultant Carla Tollett, at (405) 878-8100 or email