PeaceHealth caregivers Jessica Sandoval and Cory Vansteenwyk gratefully accepting a donation of 2,000 N95 masks from Qusheng Jin and Ling Wang, members of the nonprofit Oregon Chinese Coalition.

With this week marking Hospital and Healthcare Workers week, PeaceHealth celebrates and commends our courageous healthcare heroes — those who provide direct patient care and support those who do. More than ever before, our caregivers have been called to serve and sacrifice in a once-in-a-lifetime fight against the spread of COVID-19. 

As a community of healthcare workers, PeaceHealth would not be able to accomplish this important work without the incredible support of this community. That is why we would like to also recognize our Lane County community members for their outpouring of support. In a time of unprecedented hardship, we continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of our fellow friends and neighbors. The many individuals, stores, restaurants and businesses that have stepped up to bless, nourish and protect us has been astonishing. 

A flood of well wishes has been pouring in through our “Blessing the Front Line” initiative. These simple notes of encouragement sent to our caregivers and physicians by our community have been a boost for morale and helped ground us in our healing mission during this difficult time. The homemade signs posted at our medical centers have been endearing. 

From take-home family meals, sandwiches and food truck delicacies to treats like cookies and sparkling grape juice, our community has provided more than 1,000 free meals for our caregivers. 

PeaceHealth caregiver Jessica Sandoval shows N95 masks donated by Bi-Mart.

Personal protective equipment donated by individuals and organizations has been vital to keeping our caregivers, providers and patients safe. The Eugene Marathon donated medical supplies from their canceled 2020 event to PeaceHealth. The Oregon Chinese Coalition donated 2,000 N95 masks while Bi-Mart donated 5,495 masks. Community members sewed thousands of cloth face coverings, some made from the more than 8,500 kits created by Whitewater Designs and Mammoth Manufacturing. The Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball team partnered with Heritage Distilling Co. and Kendall Cares to collect new, unused personal protective equipment and distributed these donations to both PeaceHealth and McKenzie-Willamette.

We have also been overwhelmed by the community support of our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which was launched thanks to a generous $25,000 donation from the Oregon Community Credit Union Foundation. This fund supports our COVID-19 response efforts such as testing, patient care, caregivers experiencing hardship, and other needed resources and equipment. And, the Peace Harbor Medical Center Volunteers recently donated $5,000 to the hospital’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, demonstrating their commitment to ensuring medical staff and patients are cared for during this difficult time. 

Whether donations or tributes like the Mid-Valley Ambulance and Springfield Police parades of appreciation, these gestures show that you understand our healthcare workers’ dedication as well as the challenges we face. 

More than anything, your commitment to staying home has measurably flattened the COVID-19 curve and helped keep us safe by not overcrowding our hospitals. This is the biggest gift of all. 

Thank you for all that you are doing to fight the spread of COVID-19. PeaceHealth is here for you. We’re in this together. 

Mary Kingston is Chief Executive, PeaceHealth Oregon Network.