Two years ago this month life for all of us changed dramatically and roughly 730 days later we still haven't fully put the pandemic behind us. However, this infamous anniversary does give us an opportunity to recognize and honor once again all those who stood up and stood out here at Capitol Lakes throughout the Covid pandemic.
First we have to recognize our exceptional staff who showed up every day to take care of residents despite the risks. Our essential workers came together to provide exemplary care and connection to isolated residents. They worked through countless surges and when asked led the state in getting vaccinated to protect the most vulnerable among us. On this anniversary we shouldn’t forget their sacrifices and it remains imperative to reiterate our gratitude.
But just as staff stood up for residents, our residents rallied to make sure our staff had what they needed to weather the storm. Almost immediately after Wisconsin and the country shut down to flatten the curve, Capitol Lakes’ resident Bernie Cohen approached Tim Conroy – our Executive Director – about what he and other residents could do to help staff facing financial emergencies. That initial conversation launched the Pandemic Support Campaign. Bernie – working with Staff Appreciation Chair, Melissa Keyes, and then CLRA President, Ingrid Rothe – initiated a fundraising drive that raised over $55,000 to the Capitol Lakes Foundation’s Staff Support Fund.
Bernie, Melissa, and Ingrid - as well as the countless residents and donors who gave so generously - kept our staff in their homes by helping with rent payments; made sure the lights and heat stayed on for those staff needing assistance with utility payments; helped staff get to work by paying transportation expenses; and ensured that our furloughed employees did not lose their health insurance during a public health emergency by paying the employee portion of their insurance premiums.
While these last two years have been unbelievably hard, my heart is not filled with despair but rather immense gratitude for people like Bernie, Melissa, and Ingrid who showcase the best of human kindness. Thanks again to our great team and to Bernie, Melissa, Ingrid, and YOU for the many ways you helped carry our community through the last two years. Together, I know we’ll continue to enhance the living experience for all those who live and work at Capitol Lakes.
--Lenee Kruse, Capitol Lakes Foundation Director