Fairhaven and Staff are Hometown Heroes

Fairhaven Senior Services is a WUL Hometown Hero “For taking action in early March in an attempt to keep its 420 residents and staff safe from COVID-19 by prohibiting in-house visitors to its main campus; for handling the social/emotional concerns of the residents and their families who have not been able to make in-house visits; and for graciously seeking viable alternatives for connections with loved ones.”

Paul Kuenning, President/CEO of Fairhaven said, “Our results are thanks to the extra effort of staff, residents, and their families to keep everyone safe.”

In the photo are: Nancy Denzin, Irving Sedano, Amy Crandall, Jessica Ward, Dawn Blazier, Stephanie Zwitter, Cindy Jolliffe, Tonya Zwitter, Shelly Kavanaugh, Sue Morse, Betty Schelb, Janet Hardt, Millie Zarate, Talon Kieffer, Brian Smith, Jasmyne Hauger, Karen Boyle, Terrie Munger, Paul Kuenning, Brian Robinson

He credits staff members being extra attentive to safety procedures — even when not at work — as one of the main reasons for the positive results.

“Our staff has done an outstanding job of protecting themselves for the benefit of our residents.  They have gone out of their way to take precautionary measures at home,” said Kuenning. 

Kuenning has high praise for the residents and their families, too. “Our residents and families have continued to be a great support,” he says, including Fairhaven’s Residents’ Council starting a “Keep Us Safe” fund that so far has collected $12,180. Funds will be used to support staff and provide needed protective equipment, including masks, washable protective gowns, shields, surgical masks, and movable carts.

Kuenning says that, thanks to everyone working together, Fairhaven is ready — no matter what the future holds. “Each day now, as businesses are opening, it will get more challenging to keep the virus at bay,” he says, “but I believe we are prepared for the eventuality, and will treat it and manage it as carefully as we have other difficult things in the past.”

Additional nomination comments included, “A large number of skilled nursing facilities and other senior residences around the state and the country have unfortunately struggled with keeping COVID-19 out of their buildings.  Fairhaven took timely action in early March in an attempt to keep its residents safe, prohibiting in-house visitors to its main campus.  The decision, though difficult, has paid off.  All 420 residents and staff of Fairhaven, including Prairie Village residents, tested negative for COVID-19 in May.”

“There are signs on the property stating, ‘Heroes live here,’ and the residents, staff and family members have all played a part in helping to keep everyone healthy.  It has required a great deal of patience, and recently Fairhaven responded by constructing a special area where visitors can be sheltered from the sun while seeing their loved ones through the windows and chatting on their cell phones.”

The staff has also worn masks at work throughout the pandemic, and has been cautious in their personal life in order to protect the residents. 

WUL (Whitewater Unites Lives) is a locally-focused civil and human rights group that works to connect the people in our community and to create opportunities for all people to learn and support each other in our common humanity.   

Anyone who would like to nominate a local hero of any age should send their nomination, with a short description, to whitewaterunites@gmail.com 

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