When Clay and Jen Pierce were looking for a way to recognize the amazing and important work of area healthcare workers they had a few things in mind. Being part of the community and being personally connected with both customers and friends that have been working tirelessly and unselfishly during the COVID-19 pandemic the couple recognized a need to celebrate those that are putting themselves in harm’s way for the greater good.
In an effort to show both their individual and coordinate a community driven show of appreciation for all that healthcare workers do, Clay’s Climate Control rolled out a Healthcare Worker Contest similar to the First Annual First Responders Contest they created back in October of 2019. The contest rules were pretty straight forward with community members being invited to nominate a healthcare worker and let the contest judges know some specifics about the healthcare worker and the work they do both on the job and off.
The winner of the contest is Atlanticare ICU Nurse Kristy Dennison of Upper Township, who was nominated by her husband of 15 years, Michael Davis. When Jen Pierce called Kristy to let her know about her winning the contest, Jen explains “Kristy was so excited and she could not believe she was even nominated.” Kristy found out that it was Michael that nominated her, she said she was blessed that Michael, an educator, was able to be there every day teaching school remotely at the same time caring for the family as Kristy worked at the hospital.
Here is an excerpt of what Michael wrote when he nominated Kristy:
“Kristy immediately went to work in the ICU at AtlantiCare in Atlantic City the day after the Atlanticare Cape May Court House Surgery Center closed. She could have sat back and collected unemployment or waited for AtlantiCare to send her someplace, but instead, she reached out to the ICU where she spent 10-years and her talents could be best used to help those in this time of need.
“She has been working 4, 5, and 6 days a week since the shutdown and has offered to pick up shifts days and nights, in Atlantic City or Mainland wherever the need has been. She gave up her Mother's Day to work in the ICU because the hospital was anticipating picking up a slew of COVID -19 patients from a nursing home and they had an emergency room that was bursting at the seams. She goes to work at 2 p.m., giving up dinner with her children and family, to be there for the patients. “
Kristy said when Jen Pierce of Clay’s Climate Control called with the news she was actually working and when she heard the news after calling Jen back on her break she said she was shocked and could not believe that someone took the time to nominate her. She did not even know the contest was going on. Once the shock of winning wore off, she could not wait to tell her co-workers and family the news.
Family is a big part of Kristy’s life. She has four children; her oldest Brianna, 26, is a nurse, Mikey is 11, Annabella is 9 and Stephen is 6. Her parents live close by in Beesleys Point, her brother lives close and her sister, Stephanie also an ICU nurse at Atlanticare lives in Egg Harbor Township.
Michael explained the need for a new air conditioning unit with the one currently serving the house being over 30 years old. When Clay Pierce came to inspect the old unit, he noticed the heater was also in need of repair and/or replacement. Kristy noticed that Clay and Jen were wearing protective face masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines as they talked about the new system and the work needed to be done. Kristy said it was hard to contain her excitement and appreciation for the generosity the Pierce’s and Clay’s Climate Control was showing her and her family. But what happened next takes this story to another level.
Once Clay and Jen returned to the office, they talked about the need to have Kristy’s heater replaced as well. And well, the Pierces decided to also replace the heater as part of the contest winnings. Of course Kristy was excited to receive the news of the new cooling and heating units.
Most of us can only imagine what it takes to be a healthcare working during this pandemic. It is something that is changing us all in one way or another. For better or worse we will get through it. It is wonderful to share something good that is based on recognizing the work of healthcare workers.
While the idea of Clay’s Climate Control creating this contest came out of something as challenging as healthcare workers response to COVID-19, is something, especially for Kristy and her family, that in the form of a new air conditioning and heating unit that will bring both comfort and enjoyment for seasons and years to come.
Another wonderful example of how community businesses can create an opportunity to thank those for keeping us safe and also going above and beyond what is expected to make our communities healthy places to live.