LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — When you hear that the Kentucky National Guard has been called out, a nursing home is not the place you’d expect soldiers to be but that’s what’s happening across the state as 50 guard members are helping protect our most vulnerable to the coronavirus in long-term care facilities.
“We are tired,” says Karen Venis, CEO of Sayre Christian Village in Lexington. “Healthcare workers across the nation right now are tired. They’ve been fighting this battle for so long now and I think the challenge is, there is no end in sight.”
The Healthcare Center at Sayre Christian Village isn’t immune from the virus.
“We knew it wasn’t a matter of if, but when COVID would get in our facility so we currently, for about the last 45 days, have had an outbreak at our facility.”
Because it’s a stand alone, non-profit facility it hasn’t had access to many resources. But then came a phone call. The state was bringing in the National Guard to help.
“They’ve been here all this week and have just been extra hands and feet, boots on the ground for us, to get stuff done that will help us continue to fight this battle with COVID,” says Venis.
A battle that is both physical and mental.
“Seems like there’s a real need we’re helping them meet here,” says Staff Sergeant Caleb Tidei.
Guardmember Tidei says it’s not just sanitizing and doing other odd jobs but there is also the human aspect. He says he was shocked when he met the people who live here.
“These poor, poor people have been isolated from each other and their families for six-to-seven months since March,” says Tidei. “Just that level of total isolationism, it was very hard to see.”
He’s been isolated while serving overseas but says this mission is different.
“I was on a very safe base<‘ says Tidei. “People were not falling ill constantly. So from that side, there’s a lot more at stake for Kentucky and the mission itself.”
Tidei says it’s an honor to serve this mission, one so desperately needed.