Author: Hannah Brinkley
My name is Hannah Brinkley. I am sixteen years old. I am a Star Scout working towards my Eagle rank in Scouts BSA and a JROTC Cadet in the Army JROTC program at Manchester High School in Chesterfield Virginia. In the fall I will be part of the Chesterfield Technical Emergency Medical Technician program as well. This is my story.
From the time I was three years old I have been a regular volunteer at Petersburg Home for Ladies. Truthfully I didn’t have much choice because my dad has worked there for the last twelve years!
I know first-hand the inner workings of Petersburg Home for Ladies. I regularly volunteer there. I know many of the staff and residents personally. I have done everything from hauling mulch around in the summer to serving drinks during festive parties in the winter. I have fixed plumbing issues, decorated for events, and even performed musically. I have read stories to residents, painted their nails, cleaned their glasses lens and just in general made people happy.
COVID19 changed the world. We were shocked, frustrated and truthfully a little scared. We didn’t know what this virus was, what it could do, or how long it would last. What we did know is that it became very important to protect people who are the most vulnerable to infection.
What you may not realize is that when the Ladies Home decided to limit visitation to those who were “medically necessary,” those same rules suddenly applied to me. After all, it wouldn’t make sense for the Ladies Home to limit visitors only to have their staff come home to families that had been out in the community. So here I am at 16 years old getting ready to start my summer, only to find out that I am not allowed to see my friends, go anywhere, or even have people visit unless they stand outside and wear a facemask.
I commiserated with my friends who had parents in healthcare and watched as other friends seemed more cavalier in their response to the pandemic. Was it fair to me that I was restricted because my dad worked in healthcare? Would my summer before my junior year of high school be spent alone at my house?
After high school I plan to join the Navy and become a medical corpsman. It’s simple really. I want to help people. I want to be there when people need help the most. I want to serve my country and my community. Truthfully I cannot think of a time in my life when I have not held to these ideals. After all, I learned them at a young age as I walked the halls of Petersburg Home for Ladies.
Having opportunity to watch the staff giving of themselves, supporting therapists as they work, and admiring the detail given to every event hosted by the Ladies Home has embedded selfless ideology in me. Right now everyone is calling the folks in healthcare, “Healthcare Heroes.” I get that. People that give of themselves expecting nothing in return should be called heroes. That’s what I want to be.
During COVID19 remember the family of the healthcare worker. We are stuck making sacrifices that we didn’t choose and forced to remain accountable to standards that we never expected. But as a sixteen year old high school kid I am also inspired. I am driven to make change and build on the sacrifices of others. I may not like the circumstance I am expected to abide by right now, but I wouldn’t change the fact that I have been given the gift of viewing this pandemic through the lens of others. It is very important to protect the people that are most vulnerable to infection. It is not that big of a sacrifice when I know that through my sacrifice I protect the health of others.