The Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates celebrates SUPERHERO ICU NURSES at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates. When club member and Assistant Community Service Director Eileen Higginbotham received a call from friend and neighbor Angelina Peterson, ICU Nurse and social committee member at St. Alexius Hospital, seeking ideas and advice for creating a fun-packed nurses’ week, Eileen and fellow members of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Spearheading support from members of the Rotary club, as well as local businesses and organizations eager to contribute, she helped plan and organize a plethora of celebratory activities for the dedicated ICU nursing staff.
          The Hyatt Regency Schaumburg generously provided a complimentary night stay to each nurse. “We are delighted to be able to give a small token of appreciation to our local heroes who have sacrificed so much to help our community each and every day,” said Omar Naimi, General Manager of the recently renovated Hyatt that is managed by Milwaukee-based Marcus® Hotels and Resorts.
          Fabbrini Flowers in Hoffman Estates and Devine Signs in Schaumburg were only too glad to make sure the Superhero ICU nurses knew how very special they are and how much they are honored by the community. Christies Dairy Delights N’ Coffee House in Palatine jumped in and planned and organized an Ice Cream Social Day.
Local businesses and organizations contributed items to Superhero Swag Bags that were distributed to ICU nurses during Nurses Week. They included Edward Jones, Harper College, TopGolf, NWSRA (Northwest Special Recreation Association), Village of Hoffman Estates, Culver’s, BNC Quality Auto Body, Paxem Inc., Elderwerks Educational Services, and Baird & Warner/Colleen Clavesilla. Individuals from the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates also sponsored lunches, added items to the Superhero Swag Bags, and donated items for a nurses’ raffle. 
St. Alexius ICU Nurses Social Committee assemble Superhero Swag Bags with a plethora of donations from members of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates and local businesses. Pictured left to right: Anu Alex Thomas, Dylan Giesel, George Lukowski, Indu Meir, and Angelina Peterson.
          Mayor William McLeod of the Village of Hoffman Estates presented a Superhero ICU Nurses at St. Alexius Day proclamation to the ICU nurses at its board meeting on Monday, May 3. St. Alexius’ ICU staff who attended were Teresa Corona, ICU Manager and Angelina Peterson, ICU Nurse and Social Committee member. In attendance from St. Alexius’ hospital administration were Polly Davenport, RN, D.Sc, FACHE SVP/Chief Regional Officer-NW, President St. Alexius Medical Center; Shawn O’Connor, Chief Nursing Officer; and Keith Hill, Director of Nursing. Omar Naimi, GM and Sarah Billmeyer, Group Sales Manager represented the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg. Sarah is also Community Service Director of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates. Eileen Higginbotham and Rosemary Justen represented the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates.
St. Alexius Hospital ICU nursing staff and administrators receive proclamation from Village of Hoffman Estates at their Monday, May 3rd board meeting. Pictured left to right: ICU Nurse Angelina Peterson, ICU Manager Teresa Corona, Director of Nursing Keith Hill, and Chief Nursing Officer Shawn O’Connor. Village Mayor William McLeod and Village Trustee Michael Gaeta, who read the proclamation, look on.
          When asked to share some thoughts as a frontline ICU nurse, Angie Peterson started with her favorite quote. “Life is like a camera; focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and, if things don’t work out…take another shot.” (author anonymous). 
          She further described this pandemic year from her ICU perspective. “COVID-19 hit us all hard. Nothing could prepare us for something like this. There were so many unknowns; we learned as we went, adjusted, adapted to many changes as the guidelines dictated, and we did the best we could. If something did not work out the way we planned, we tried again. We were scared just like millions of people. Our odds of acquiring this deadly virus, plus the possibility of bringing it home to our families, was very likely. Despite all of that we chose to go to work every day to save lives, help others, and ease their pain. That’s what is important. Our character and integrity were tested; for we could easily have waved the white flag and called it a day. Instead, we accepted the challenge and stood strong, ready to serve anyone that came our way. 
          “I have been a nurse for 26 years, and this has been the most stressful event in my career. I’ve seen so many deaths that will last a lifetime. In a normal non-COVID world, if a patient tells us I want to die, I can tell you that 99.9% of nurses will jokingly say not on my watch. Nowadays if you say that to us, we pray, we hold your hand, we call your family, and we call the chaplain. It’s sad but it’s the reality.”
          Angie expressed her gratitude to the members of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates and the local businesses that helped to fulfill her vision for this year’s National Nurses Week. “Our social committee wanted this Nurses Week to be super special and super fun to honor all the hard work [and long hours] the ICU nurses had endured during this pandemic. I am so thrilled that the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates was able to facilitate this event. I am so blessed to have a wonderful neighbor/friend in my backyard willing to do the work for us. I simply asked her if she had any ideas or know anyone that could help with raffles/donations; next thing I know, she had the Rotary club on board ready to go. They made it possible for all of us. Thank you, Rotary club and all the businesses and individuals that donated for our nurses’ week. Your good heart will forever be etched in ours. These are the good times we should capture and celebrate!”