Parker Jewish Institute’s virtual gala honors its health-care heroes

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Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, WCBS News Correspondent Marla Diamond, Parker President and CEO Michael N. Rosenblut honor Parker Jewish Institute's health-care heroes.

This year’s gala supporting Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation was virtual, honoring its health-care heroes who battled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Streamed online on October 20, the gala paid tribute to its frontline physicians, nurses and support staff who courageously delivered compassionate care amid the challenges of COVID-19, as they stood together in battling the coronavirus.

The Queens-Nassau border was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus during the initial outbreak, but Parker’s dedicated health-care workers tirelessly comforted families from afar and soothed patients through the most unprecedented circumstances. And all the while, they took time away from their families to serve the greater good.

Speaking to supporters, Peter Seideman, the chairman of Parker’s Board of Trustees, said, “As we navigate our new normal, we are continuing to call on these heroic individuals as we continue developing safe variations of our home health care, hospice, social adult care, physician home visits and inpatient and outpatient dialysis programs. With your help, we will continue to serve our community any way that we can.”

In addition to honoring Parker’s front-line workers, the Parker community recognized the Institute’s generous sponsors and supporters. They donated tens of thousands of personal protective equipment and contributed to Parker’s Meal Train, which provided thousands of meals to the Institute’s health-care workers. Thanks to their support, the Parker community never felt alone even in the pandemic’s most challenging moments.

“Through every twist and turn in the road and new challenge – and there were many, many new challenges – our health-care heroes were brave, comforting the residents, and strong, each and every day they came to work. They guided the patients and their families through unimaginable circumstances and were able to provide hope for so many. I personally am so proud of these individuals. I personally am so proud to be associated with Parker Jewish Institute for all of their efforts,” said Michael N. Rosenblut, Parker’s president and CEO.

A moment of silence was held to remember those who lost their fight to COVID, as well as to honor the life of Scott Amrhein, the former president of Parker’s Continuing Care Coalition.

“These individuals epitomize what it means to be a hero,” Dr. Igor Israel, Parker’s chief medical officer said of Parker’s frontline workers. “They came to Parker day after day, facing the unknown and continually made sure that our patients and residents felt safe, comfortable and supported.”

WCBS News Correspondent Marla Diamond was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. And performer LA BlackSmith provided the evening’s musical entertainment.

Parker continues to innovate and roll-out strategies and technology to safeguard against the virus, while remaining true to the Institute’s commitment to excellent care as well as comfort to older adults, while offering support to their families.

These measures include Parker’s nonstop COVID-testing operation, devoting an entire team to test all staff weekly. And the staff is armed with personal protective equipment to stay safe. Parker upgraded its generator system to ensure that the power is always on, which is especially critical during COVID-19.

In addition, Parker’s new ultraviolet lighting into its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units were installed to kill or stop the spread of COVID-19 and a range of other dangerous bacteria and viruses, from MRSA to E. coli.

There’s still time to donate to Parker Jewish Institute by visiting its virtual gala page.

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