Avera Employees and Supporters Tell Us “Why I Mask”
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Published on November 24, 2020

Nathan Johnson mask campaign

Avera Employees and Supporters Tell Us “Why I Mask”

Face coverings in the time of COVID-19 have an important purpose – slowing the spread of the virus – but the personal reasons Avera employees and community members who support Avera are wide-ranging and varied.

Avera joins nationwide efforts to promote the use of masks, and you can join the effort by wearing yours and using the hashtag #MaskUp when you’re on social media.

Here are some of the shared perspectives.

  • Nathan Johnson, Communications Coordinator, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital
    "I wear a mask because I believe in the work of every person. I wear a mask so that people feel safe and businesses can thrive. I wear a mask because I respect and honor health care workers. And, finally, I wear a mask because I believe a pandemic of kindness is the only thing that will get us through this."
  • Mick Gibbs, Avera Heart Hospital President and CEO
    "I wear because I want to set an example for my daughters and my community."
  • Kellie Yackley, Avera St. Mary's Hospital, Avera Foundation Community Giving Officer
    "I mask because I'm a cancer survivor and I have two beautiful new grand babies to protect."
  • Carmen Meyer, Avera St. Luke's Hospital Board of Directors
    "I wear a mask not only to protect myself, but to be respectful of the safety of other people. “Never tire of doing what is right.” II Thessalonians 3:13"
  • Lisa Brandt and MacKenzieLisa Brandt, Access Family Medical Clinic (Worthington, Minn.) Lab Technician
    "We are two generations of Avera employees. MacKenzie is a peds nurse at Avera McKennan and I am a 35-year lab tech in the Worthington clinic. We are all family. MacKenzie is my “baby” and I want to keep her safe as well as the patients I care for. MacKenzie wants to keep all her patient babies safe."
  • Courtney Ehlers, Avera McKennan Assistant Vice President of Inpatient Services
    "Wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, leader. Cancer survivor. Nurse. I mask for me. I mask for the many that depend on me. I mask for my team, so we can be here to care for our community. I mask for you."
  • Robert Santella, MD, Avera Medical Group Nephrologist
    "I wear a mask at work because I care about my dedicated hard working colleagues. I wear a mask in the community because preventing COVID-related deaths far outweighs the negligible impact on personal freedom."
  • Dan Pfarr, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, IT Desktop Support Technician
    "I wear a mask to help prevent from spreading COVID to my fellow persons, friends and families. Just a very small gesture can reap significant prevention! Happy holidays to everyone!"
  • Jo Oberg, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Infection Prevention Nurse
    "I wear a mask to protect my family, my friends and my community. I want to prevent spreading this virus to those that may be vulnerable for serious complications from COVID-19."
  • Dan Florey, MD, Avera Medical Group Tyler, Family Medicine Physician
    "I wear a mask for myself, my family and friends, my patients, and my community. Wearing a mask does help prevent me from getting COVID-19. It helps shield me from the virus and it is a reminder to wash my hands and practice physical distancing. Of course, I would be devastated if my family or friends caught COVID-19 from me, and I will do as much as I can to protect them. As a family physician, I take care of many people in the community and in our nursing home for whom an infection with COVID-19 would be life-threatening. As part of my commitment to providing excellent patient care, I will do my part to protect them from this pandemic."

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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