(WGGB/WSHM) -- COVID-19. It’s a war that healthcare workers worldwide are currently fighting, as well as in Western Massachusetts, where cases approach 3,000.
While they all deserve praise, some deserve that extra something.
That’s where the Western Mass News and Rocky’s Ace Hardware Surprise Squad comes in.
“Sometimes, he'll say ‘I had a bad day at work, I had a patient pass away,’” said Annamaria Wright, sister of Alex Wright.
It’s not an easy time to be in the healthcare industry.
“They are so sick. It’s tough when you have someone who just can’t breathe. It’s very difficult. A lot of people are saying it’s everyone who is 70, but no, we have 40 year olds and 30 year olds there that have no medical history and when they can’t breathe, it’s the most difficult thing,” said Alex Wright, a nurse at Mercy Medical Center.
Seeing what first responders are going through first-hand and having a daughter as a nurse, Rocco Falcone, president of Rocky's Ace Hardware, is teaming up with the Western Mass News Surprise Squad again to honor our frontline workers.
“I think it’s bringing all the folks together. It’s a tragic situation and to have the first responders going in and helping people and dealing with this tragic virus…" Falcone explained.
Alex Wright spent some time serving for the United States Army. He has also been a nurse for the last 18 years, living out his passion.
Wright currently works at Mercy, taking care of patients with COVID-19
“It’s tough, nothing like we've really seen. It’s been a difficult time, its stressful for a lot of us health care workers because we then come home and don’t want to infect our families,” Alex Wright explained.
His family explains that even when he’s off the clock at Mercy, he’s on it for them - no questions asked.
“When I was little, I was not taking school seriously, even when she was talking to me all the time, it wasn’t getting through and he was talking to me all the time, and one day, it just clicked and if I needed help, it was always there,” said Demetria Wood, Alex’s niece.
Annamaria Wright added, “He also helped too because he has a nurse background. We all lived together at one point too, but my daughter has MS and he went through a lot of hospitalizations with us. She was in the hospital at Boston. He actually had got us there emergent because she had gone blind with her MS.”
It’s time Alex got something in return.
“He is a super, super, fun brother…super supportive. Medically, he's supportive. He's just so giving. He deserves to be happy,” Annamaria said.
For some context, this past July, just a handful of months before the pandemic began, life as Alex knew it was about to change. He and his wife began the process of a divorce.
“It’s very tough to go through a divorce with anybody, but when your support system is frazzled by everything that’s going on and I mean, typically, I tend to throw myself into work and work, work, work, and keep my mind off things but even that, it’s become more difficult,” Alex said.
Alex moved in with his sister, Annamaria, whose daughter has Multiple Sclerosis.
Once the pandemic hit, her condition, coupled with Alex’s line of work, led to a change in his life once again.
“Because my daughter has MS, he can't come home,” Annamaria noted.
Speaking with Alex’s sister and niece over Skype, the Western Mass News Rocky’s Ace Hardware Surprise Squad learned this nurse had a need for speed.
“Oh, he's serious. We've been to the race track with him,” said Annamaria.
So we did what we could.
Knowing that Alex is in his car a lot, we got him $500 worth of gift cards to Rocky’s Ace Hardware for anything he wants for his car or anything else he needs.
Alex, as his family warned, accepting the surprise with great humility.
“It’s an unseen war that everybody is fighting right now and everyone is on the frontline, whether you’re staying at home or working in healthcare. Everyone is on the frontline and it effects everybody, so it’s a little different than the wars we've been accustomed to,” Alex explained.