We showed up
Dear CCS family,
Sometimes in the worst situations we find the best in humanity. My recent trip to Florida before, during and after Hurricane Irma left me so incredibly impressed with our team that I wanted to share this experience with all of you.
Last Friday, I departed Nashville with Chris Bove, President of the Local Detention Division. Our goal was to get to Florida and provide moral support and extra manpower to our team on the ground.
We started at the South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center where they were readying for a Class 5 Hurricane with potential storm surge. What I encountered there was humbling. In the midst of this natural disaster were CCS team members that left families behind and were focused on being a calming influence for our patients who suffer from mental illness. They were putting others first.
At the South Florida State Hospital the patients that we met were comforted by the professionalism and dedication of our team. Our colleagues provided care for three straight days, catching naps when they could. Stories of courageous nurses and doctors abound. One of those stories from the Florida Civil Commitment Center featured Nurse Margaret Ferrell, Nurse Kelly Toney, Lt. Steven Levine and Lt. Thomas Wondergem. During the worst of the Hurricane, they responded to a code blue. Braving fierce winds in a connecting breezeway they attended to a seizure victim.
Just as impressive were the Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center’s nursing and safety staff and our patients protecting each other from harm, sharing humorous stories, playing dominoes in the day rooms and lifting each other’s spirits.
As the storm winds lashed Pasco County for hours and hours, the Detention Center was one of the few places where someone with a medical emergency would receive immediate treatment. No surprise that they continued assisting detoxing patients and even a patient in labor. “We showed up,” said Nurse David McFarland referring to the local CCS team of dedicated health care providers. His comment summed up what we witnessed in our visits throughout Florida.
Finally, upon my return, I learned that a grateful CCS family had already contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Dare to Care to help dozens of staff members impacted by the storm. If there is any silver lining to this disaster, it is being exposed to so many wonderful people who can say “we showed up” to care for our patients! We are very blessed.