MAYVILLE, N.Y.:-- Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel and the COVID-19 Response Team recently announced the fifteenth week of COVID-19 Hero nominations 107-116. Nominations are recognized in a video posted weekdays on the Chautauqua County Government Facebook page, and each nominee receives a personal note from the County Executive’s Office.
“Week fifteen demonstrates another wide variety of settings and ways individuals across Chautauqua County have stepped up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “I want to again personally thank our week fifteen nominees: Daniel Kozakiewicz, Dr. Jeremy Riedesel, Steven Cobb, Noel Ossman, Crystal Larson, Jan Hallberg, Lavern Terrill, Dr. Tariq Khan, Gloria Hayes, and Pam Allessi. These individuals have risen to the challenge of helping others during a global pandemic, and are truly our COVID-19 Heroes.”
Daniel Kozakiewicz is a respiratory therapist at Brooks memorial Hospital and is a very dedicated hard worker. He has had many rough days throughout the pandemic but it is his dedication to go to work every single morning to take care of COVID-19 positive people that makes him a true hero.
Dr. Jeremy Riedesel has spent most of the COVID-19 pandemic working as a Hospitalist at Westfield Memorial Hospital while employed by Family Health Medical Services. As a hospital-based physician, he spent his time caring for inpatients and putting himself front and center as COVID-19 swept across the county. He worked closely with nurses and other providers providing care for extremely ill patients, while also enduring the constant changing of PPE and learning what care works best. His dedication and commitment during this pandemic deserve our deepest gratitude.
Steven Cobb is the Executive Director for the Mental Health Association (MHA) in Chautauqua County. When COVID-19, first hit our county, Steven responded in a way that could only be described as admirable. MHA had to quickly adjust to a new way of responding to an already vulnerable population. He ensured that the organization took all safety precautions and found innovative solutions, such as online support groups and providing people with cell phones to meet people’s need for human connection and support in their recovery. Steven's dedication to our community, MHA participants, and his staff are well deserved especially during these times. He made sure our population was still taken care of during the pandemic.
Noel Ossman is a unit secretary at Chautauqua Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. She goes over and beyond and is an amazing person! Always treats her residents like they are her family.
Crystal Larson works at Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation in Unit 1B. She takes time to get to know and care for her residents and treats them like family. She and the 1B staff all work as a team and include their residents in every daily activity and holiday, and they truly love their residents.
Jan Hallberg has been a firefighter with Ellery Center Volunteer Fire Department for 37 years and an EMT for 36 of those years. She has led the effort since the beginning of the pandemic to make sure their members were protected on EMS calls with potential COVID positive patients. She completely re-did their ambulance to prevent contamination of supplies, keeps up to date on new protocols, and set up a check station for the members as they enter the station including care packages with necessities for while on a call or in public. She also serves as third assistant chief and is one of Ellery Center’s top responders.
Lavern Terrill is a first responder for Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department, and originally joined the department in 1967. He has 54 years at Kennedy VFD and at 87 years old, he was Kennedy’s top responder in 2020 running 219 total calls. He is the number one ambulance driver for the department and is also a member of the County Fire Police Team. Lavern goes above and beyond and responds to calls day or night, no matter the time or weather.
Dr. Tariq Khan is a pediatrician at Southern Tier Pediatrics and a member of our County Board of Health. He has done so much for the community throughout the pandemic, always keeping the health and wellbeing of children his number one priority. He worked with local school districts to develop plans to help them stay open, worked to make sure his private practice could offer multiple options for parents to be able to receive care for their children, and he volunteers for leadership roles in the community and with the county.
Gloria Hayes is the school nurse for Fredonia Central School District. Gloria has worked since the beginning of the pandemic to ensure safety for students, teachers and staff at her district to remain and return to in-school instruction. Daily online and phone conversations with the county and state regarding proper procedures, regulations, contact tracing, etc., Gloria has always had the best interest of her students, teachers, staff and administration in mind during this national pandemic. Gloria is a very experienced registered nurse with 28 years as a pediatric nurse at Childrens Hospital in Buffalo and 11 years as District Nurse at the Fredonia Central School District. She is retiring at the end of this school year, and caring for children has truly been her life’s passion.
Pam Allessi is retired but dedicated many hours of her time to help individuals sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine when appointments were hard to come by. She was able to help hundreds of individuals in need of assistance, whether elderly, front line workers, or individuals with comorbidities. She was flexible to work with people and their schedules, and even offered to hand deliver registration forms and drive seniors to their appointments if they were in need of transportation.
Nominations closed on March 31, 2021. Individuals will continue to be recognized in the coming weeks until all submissions have been named. To view COVID-19 Heroes videos, visit www.facebook.com/ChautauquaCountyGovernment.