By Carl Vaagenes, CEO of Alomere Health

This week is National Healthcare Week and last week was National Nurses Week, both celebrating and recognizing the great work of all of the people that work in healthcare.

This year, as we celebrate National Healthcare Week, I want to first take a moment to thank our community for your outpouring of support these past two months. We can’t express our appreciation and gratitude enough for all the individuals and organizations that have showered us with acts of service and generosity. Many individuals and organizations have donated medical supplies, made face masks, and relayed messages of encouragement, and painted beautiful art displays to decorate our windows and spread the message that we are truly “stronger together.”

As I reflect on my path into healthcare, I had many role models that influenced my career choice. My grandparents, as well as my parents, were missionaries in Madagascar for a combined total of 56 years. Looking back on my formative years, I have a great appreciation for the sacrifice, great courage and steadfast commitment they had as I heard of and saw first-hand the hearts of my family and their friends who served others with passion and excellence. In college, it wasn’t until I took a class in the history of healthcare and studied the amazing impact and legacy of Florence Nightingale, that I thought healthcare could be a very rewarding career path to be a part of a mission and purpose to serve others similar to my parents and grandparents.

As our hospital and clinics have been transformed to the public health crisis response center in light of the challenges we are facing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t help but think about some of the health concerns that my parents and grandparents endured while on the mission field, and by Florence Nightingale 200 years ago. Medicine has improved significantly since then, a perspective that makes me both grateful and hopeful in our current circumstances. I’m most grateful and hopeful today because of the sacrifice, great courage, and steadfast commitment I observe everyday by everyone at Alomere Health as we have prepared to face this uncertainty together. It has truly been the most rewarding privilege of my career to work alongside teams of some of the most dedicated, compassionate, loving and courageous people that work in healthcare in so many different roles from patient care to all the support services.

Our healthcare environment has changed more over the past two months than anytime I can recall in my career, as I know it has for so many other organizations and businesses in our community. Through these difficult times though, we have witnessed countless beautiful stories of a coming together of individuals in our community to help meet people’s needs.

As a recipient of this generosity, we are extremely thankful for the support of our community during this time, and remain committed to being here for you to fulfill our essential mission to strengthen and nurture the health and wellbeing of our family, friends, neighbors and communities, through every season of life. I know you will join me, especially during this time, in expressing my appreciation to all the individuals that work in healthcare for their sacrifice, great courage and steadfast commitment to our mission.

Carl Vaagenes is the CEO of Alomere Health in Alexandria. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.