Letters to the Editor for Oct. 6

Published October 5 2017

Care during storm appreciated

During Hurricane Irma, the residents of Consulate Healthcare of Bayonet Point in Hudson were evacuated to a nearby nursing facility for our safety. We were all treated excellently.

These people put their time and backs to working. There were no complaints. From the head administrator on down through the chain of command, I saw acts of humanity and patient care I've never seen before. I saw our administrator, Maryann Domingo, hurt her back, and all she did was go to another room and put a back binder on and continued to help her nursing staff lift patients up and down. I saw CNAs and others working together getting mattresses down for residents to sleep on. The mattresses were organized and placed to the needs and safety of the patients.

Everyone worked together. Some staff even slept on the bare floor. The staff was there for us with no complaints, just smiles, hugs and pats on the back. They worked days straight through like champs and always made sure the patients were comfortable.

For the privacy of patients who needed Hoyer-lifted to get up and dressed and put into their wheelchairs, they would make sure to spread out sheets and blankets to shield them. The activities department made sure that we were kept busy with TV shows and games.

We all worked together, staff and residents, and got through the storm and made it back to our home at Consulate Healthcare of Bayonet Point as soon as we could. Everything was done in a timely, orderly and safe manner. The residents definitely came first. Consulate Healthcare of Bayonet Point truly and wholeheartedly cares about every single one of their patients and makes sure we are all well taken care of — state of emergency or not — and I can say that because I have witnessed it all as one of those residents.

Thank you, Consulate.

Karen Smith, resident, Consulate Healthcare of Bayonet Point

Community effort praised

It is a true measure of a community when a natural disaster such as Hurricane Irma hits and people respond with open arms to those in need. It was an incredible sight to see so many people from our county and nearby communities come together and ensure that people were safe, had food and water, and had shelter from the storm.

The first responders from every municipality, the county sheriff's and fire departments, and the National Guard all made sure the streets were safe, injured people were taken care of and criminal behavior was kept in check. The dedicated men and women who worked long hours in the Emergency Operations Center did a fantastic job keeping communication lines open, thus ensuring that as much news as possible was available to as many people as possible.

For those without power, many for a week or more, life was tougher than for others. Every charitable group from Metropolitan Ministries, the Volunteer Way, the Salvation Army, Farm Share and countless churches and other nonprofit organizations stepped in to help as many people as possible.

Our school district stepped up big time. As the storm's path became increasingly more likely to make a direct hit on Pasco County, more and more schools were converted into hurricane shelters, many to accommodate residents with pets. The countless volunteers who gave of their time to serve food, keep the shelters clean and safe all deserve our thanks. The folks who ran the regional hurricane shelter in Hudson for special needs individuals made certain that the people who checked in there were as safe as can be.

It was the smaller things that made an impact as well. As I drove the streets, I saw neighbor helping neighbor chop up downed trees and limbs in preparation for debris removal. Local businesses that opened up the day after the storm passed, running on generators, to make sure that hot food was available to those without means to cook.

I believe that the spirit that makes Pasco County great was on display before, during and after Hurricane Irma in a way that I have never seen before. I have no doubt if we are ever faced with such a crisis again that our community has proven itself more than capable of rising to the challenge!

Mike Fasano, Pasco County tax collector

Staff deserves kudos for care

With the current focus on the long-term care industry in Florida and the experience of Hurricane Irma, I would like to take the opportunity to praise the great team that cared for the elderly residents who make their home at Rosecastle of Zephyrhills, an assisted living community.

It is our practice and policy and, in fact, we encourage staff and their families to stay with us in our building during a hurricane. During Irma's visit to the area, we had 67 residents, 49 staff members and their family members, 11 residents' family members, five dogs, three cats, one bird and a rabbit staying at Rosecastle of Zephyrhills. The entire management team, including the administrator, were in the building for the three days of bad weather, some sleeping in their offices.

We are fortunate. We have a large generator that can power a number of functions in our building, but we did not lose power. However, we had planned and were prepared for whatever Irma gave us and had the staff in the building to care for residents, calm their fears and keep their mind off of the storm.

I personally and publicly want to thank Michelle Hurst, the executive director, and her fantastic team for their commitment and hard work in calming the fears and concerns of their elderly residents. I can truly say that while Irma was roaring through our area, Rosecastle was not only a home for our residents but a shelter in the storm for staff members, family members and friends.

Alexia Pozar, Rosecastle Management LLC

Parks director will be missed

What a loss to Pasco County and particularly for the kids in the low-income areas in Pasco, such as Shady Hills. Park money flowed in for Wesley Chapel Park, the park in Trinity, but for Shady Hills there has not been funding for programs or to replace an ugly torn cover for the donated stage.

Kelley Boree was a team player and has been great for the animal shelter by providing publicity on park boards to get the word out on adoption events. She was interested in activities with kids who may have special needs. This was our reason for meeting two weeks ago.

During our meeting, she was very open to the various ideas on ways to get recreational activities back into Elsie Logan Park for the kids. That area had a great Boys and Girls Club, which left years ago because of no funding. As a county commissioner in 2010, I was able to get an old kitchen turned into a computer room, which was used by the youth for homework assignments and recreational activities, and provided Internet access for the local citizens.

Unfortunately, I and others did not monitor the program. And since very few care about Shady Hills, the computers were eventually taken or moved, the supervisory person also was eliminated, and activities for kids and adults ceased.

Meeting with Kelley brought new hope and excitement that not only Shady Hills, but other low-income areas, might be looked at for programs. Kelley was interested in marrying statistics related to youth issues to the need to begin new programs in the areas that reflected problems.

I am saddened that Kelley is leaving. Nothing will change. The County Commission may not see it necessary to provide funding to keep youth involved in positive activities in Shady Hills, but future residents may all be paying to fund future jail expansion. Community parks in areas such as Shady Hills are a key to helping to keep a community healthy and families healthy.

Pasco's loss will be another county's gain. So sad. Kelley, you will be missed.

Pat Mulieri, Spring Hill