fb-pixel Skip to main content

Thank you notes to Rhode Island’s coronavirus heroes

Emergency room doctors, nurses, and others at places like Rhode Island Hospital were among the many Rhode Islanders that Rhode Map readers thanked -- along with nursing home workers, mail carriers, supermarket clerks, and many more.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

If you have friends or relatives who would like their own free copy of this daily briefing about Rhode Island, tell them they can sign up here.


Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and a Friday night stuck at home would be more fun if TGIF still had “Family Matters,” “Boy Meets World,” “Step by Step,” and “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.” Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

It has been a long couple of weeks.

While this space is normally used to update you on the latest coronavirus numbers, I wanted to change things up today to give everyone a chance to take a deep breath and smile.


The crisis isn’t over yet, but there are so many people in our community who have stepped up to become heroes this month. From our health care workers and teachers to our grocery store clerks and janitors, lots of people deserve an air hug.

Below is a list of just some of those heroes, all submitted by Rhode Map readers.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott

Dr. Scott’s combination of authoritative, but calm, intelligence, and her expertise and leadership in the field, are exceptional. – Neil Steinberg


Thank you to every educator in Rhode Island who is dedicated to providing the best experience possible in an unprecedented and uncertain time for all of our students. – Neil Steinberg

Neil and Laurie Kiely

They run a support group for suicide survivors (families affected by the loss of a loved one by suicide) that meets every two weeks at Butler Hospital. They are heroes always, but in this crisis, they, decidedly non-techie, have learned how to use Zoom to host support group meetings so that people continue to have access to this important resource. – Anya Wallack and Mark McBurney


Supermarket and postal workers

After reading the Globe article on the supermarket workers, all market workers should be lauded. Also, postal workers and mail carriers. I heard a report on NPR radio yesterday that they’re basically in the same boat, maybe worse. – John Kaminski

They are working without masks and aren’t being given masks while they stock shelves and serve customers. They don’t have all the highly controlled protocols that are in place in medical facilities. They are out interacting with the general public on a daily basis. – Judi Drew

Simple enough, the local heroes helping us get through these tough times: those working in the grocery stores, on the front lines. – David Nicolato

Amy Ferguson

Amy is the statewide coordinated entry manager at the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. Every single day, she is communicating with entities throughout the state, filling gaps to make sure individuals and families experiencing homelessness are safe, and that homeless systems providers have everything they need to stay operational. – Angelina Denomme

Rick Simone

From working with hundreds of businesses on and off Federal Hill to support unemployment needs, SBA loan needs, coordinating group calls with Congressman Langevin and Senator Reed, he has been nonstop working. – Rita Ellis + team.

Dr. Victoria Leytin

Victoria is just one of the many emergency medicine physicians on the front lines of this crisis risking their health and welfare every day for the sake of others. With affiliations at Rhode Island Hospital, Miriam Hospital, and Newport Hospital, Victoria also volunteers her time using data to advocate for stronger public health protections for Rhode Island residents. – Michael Roles


Fred Mattera

Fred is the executive director of the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island, which represents the community of seafood harvesters. Currently, he’s fighting to ensure that members of Rhode Island’s commercial fishing industry receive the economic and social supports they need while seafood markets are struggling from the crisis. – Michael Roles

Cheryl Space

I want to recognize Cheryl and her incredible team at Providence Community Library for keeping patrons informed about the coronavirus crisis and the resources available for help. Cheryl and her staff have been working hard to provide the public with links to live story times, free e-books, streaming videos, online mini-concerts, and much more. – Patricia Raub

PJ and Tom Tally

They’re the fifth generation in their family to lead Tally’s religious store in Cranston, which opened in 1885. They are working with their team to safely distribute tons of palm and Easter candles to parishes throughout New England from an enormous cold storage warehouse in Cranston. The inability to hold in-person Mass services has been difficult for parishioners, especially going into Easter season, but many parishes are preparing to distribute palms while also taking appropriate precautions. – Dave Preston

Glenn Katz-Sherman

She’s the chairperson of the Little Compton Democratic Committee, and has asked that each of us reach out to our elder neighbors and friends and singles regularly to make sure they are OK. – C.A. McNeil


Jason Martin

Jason is from Little Engine Personal Training in Providence, and he’s helping me get through COVID-19 by shifting sessions to a digital format. He customizes everything to whatever equipment you have at home and never fails to make you laugh! – Cait Swanson

United Way 2-1-1 staff

While taking 2-1-1 calls daily for social services is their job, they are handling Covid calls and the routine calls — while also caring for their own families, keeping up with information that changes daily, and being there to talk to and listen to Rhode Islanders who are scared, anxious, and in need. – Sandi Connors

Annie Dulski

She’s an emergency medicine resident at Kent County Hospital who has been working extra shifts and longer hours recently. Even at 38 weeks pregnant, she has been going into work and giving up over half of her day, every day, for the last few weeks, to ensure that we treat everyone (COVID-19 or any other illness) with the utmost care. – Robert Dulski

Christy Clausen

She’s the seasonal projects supervisor at the Providence Department of Public Parks and one of the lead coordinators of the multi-agency effort to feed children in Providence. – Art Norwalk

RWU’s Justice Systems Training and Resource Institute

The instructors will be offering their expertise to police agencies and first responders across New England. They also developed a one-stop comprehensive law enforcement resources website that offers trainings and best practices, as well as resources for community members who are interested in becoming FEMA-trained to assist with responding to COVID-19 in their communities. – Jill Rodrigues


Francis Tavarez

Francis has been in quarantine at the Comprehensive Community Action Program. Due to the high volume of calls and patients they have been serving, Francis has been working a 13 hour shift, every day. – Rekha Rosha

Clara Decerbo

She’s the acting director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). She’s doing an amazing job at interfacing with all aspects of Providence governance, state, and federal groups. She’s an unsung hero in this fight. – Billy Kepner

Rhode Island’s nursing home workers

They have worked tirelessly to provide compassionate care to residents enduring the profound heartache of not being visited by family or loved ones. – Emmanuel Falck

Stacy Monteiro-Mendes

Stacy is a medical lab scientist for the Rhode Island Department of Health and has been personally performing COVID-19 tests for Rhode Islanders. On average, she has worked at least 55-60 hours a week and hasn’t had a day off in over 15 days. Once widespread testing is available, it’ll be folks like Stacy working around the clock conducting tests that will help us understand if we have flattened the curve. – Theresa Agonia

Nancy Wolanski

Nancy is the director of the Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island. She’s generally an incredible connector, but right now is doing a very important job convening the group and connecting us to members of local government and nonprofits to identify and communicate needs and opportunities to help with funding, volunteers, and other resources. – Anonymous

Steve Motta

Steve has worked almost every day at Save A Lot unloading trucks and loading shelves full of groceries so that people can purchase the food that they need. He and his team don’t have any protective wear and are not receiving additional pay or incentives like some of the other supermarkets. – Julie Motta

RIPTA drivers

As expected, ridership is down, but we are still moving more than 30,000 people a day on average between our regular routes (the big buses) and our paratransit vans under our RIde division, which is for persons with disabilities. – Barbara Polichetti

Employees at Shaw’s in Middletown

They are still going out of their way to be helpful and courteous. – Judith Giuliano

Dr. Selim Suner

He is known for his thoughtfulness, strategic thinking, and selflessness, and has been working tirelessly to create protocols and improve our emergency department response to COVID-19. – Dr. Elizabeth Goldberg

Beth Hogan

Beth is a Narragansett resident who normally works multiple jobs and is out of work. But she is home sewing surgical masks. She is one of the most caring individuals I know. – Catherine Taggart

Drew Allsopp

He spent the last two weeks driving around the urban core getting over 50 Nowell Leadership Academy families set up with WiFi, hotspots, and even groceries and toiletries to make sure they’ve got whatever they need to stay on track to graduate this spring. – Toby Shepherd

Kate Brewster

Kate is the director of the Jonnycake Center in Peace Dale. Organizing, distributing, and delivering three times the amount of food they usually do, the Jonnycake Center provided weekly groceries and school vacation meals to all who qualify in South Kingstown and Narragansett. With just a few days notice, Kate and her team had to rally enough volunteers (and food donations) to suddenly provide breakfast and lunch to children on the free and reduced lunch program who found themselves out of school. – Elizabeth Gledhill

McAuley House

Kudos to the staff at McAuley House, who are continuing to come to work to prepare and provide takeout meals to Providence’s most vulnerable citizens. – Kathryn

Rumford residents

My neighbors in Rumford for their offers to do shopping and other errands for each other, and their ability to keep spirits up with chats on Messenger or loud conversations shouted across a yard. Not heroic, per se, but oh so important. – Tony Bogar

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you this afternoon.

Please tell your friends about Rhode Map! They can sign up here. The Globe has other e-mail newsletters on topics ranging from breaking news alerts to sports, politics, business, and entertainment — check them out.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.