KY National Guard helps nursing home in Lexington

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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.”

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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.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.