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Essential workers express their thanks to those who support them

Boston-area residents in essential jobs — as nurses, electricians, teachers, and more — look to those who keep them going.

Daphne Lewis and her family. She is a nurse at Boston Children's Hospital.CHRISTINA MENDONCA/for #TheFrontStepsProject

Daphne Lewis, Emergency Department Nurse, Boston Children’s Hospital

As an emergency department nurse, I’m so grateful for my colleagues, my co-workers, my peers, who have been so supportive of each other during this time. Seeing the support and appreciation from the community, it just makes you feel like this is what you’re supposed to be doing.

Nadia Purifory, Geriatric Psychiatry Nurse, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford

Two things have really helped. I have eight children [one is grown and out of the house], and they’ve been very supportive. The other is my faith. I’m Roman Catholic, and when the pandemic got bad, I took time every night to read the Bible to my children, and we do the rosary, frequently.


Nadia Purifory and her family. christina Mendonca/for #TheFrontStepsProject

Tim Santos, Electrician

I got an Edible Arrangement sent to the house, gift cards to Dunkin’ Donuts, letters from customers saying “thank you for coming out, taking care of the emergencies, I know it’s tough right now.” And just small stuff like that goes a long way. As for my wife [an elementary school teacher in Winchester], she’s realized it’s really hard to corral a bunch of fifth-graders on Zoom. She’s been going nonstop, and it takes a real toll on teachers. They definitely don’t get appreciated for what they do.

Tim Santos and his family. CHRISTINA MENDONCA/for #TheFrontStepsProject

Erica Wilson, High School Teacher, Boston Public Schools

I’m most grateful for being able to spend a lot more quality time with my 12- and 9-year-olds. We’re still pretty busy but we have time to go for a walk, cook dinner together, bake, make forts, and that’s been really nice. They have left me little encouraging notes hidden around the house. They make me surprise meals, and organize different areas of the house, without being asked, to surprise me. I [appreciate] the smaller gestures like that, with their patience and their creativity and their willingness to embrace something new and to stay very positive about new experiences.


Erica Wilson and her daughters. CHRISTINA MENDONCA/for #TheFrontStepsProject

Fabiola Alcindor-Mitchell, Nurse, North Shore Physicians Group

When you do this job, you’re just on edge all day when you have all this PPE on and you’re trying to keep yourself protected. And then you get home and your kids are like a wave of calmness, the insanity is gone. Thanks to my kids for keeping me sane. kids. And thank you to my husband for taking over. I used to work 20 hours a week. Since the pandemic, I’ve been up to 60-plus hours.

Fabiola Alcindor-Mitchell and family. Christina Mendonca/for #TheFrontStepsProject

Julie Clifford, Hairstylist

We have two kids, and my husband, [a FedEx driver], is gone before they wake up. His work is busy right now and pretty exhausting, having to make sure he’s keeping himself and us safe from the virus, doing things like wearing a mask and undressing in the basement. But we are proud of him for making sure that everybody has what they need, and we’re grateful for helping us stay afloat with everything we need, grabbing things like bread on his route.

Julie Clifford and family.Christina Mendonca/for #TheFrontStepsProject


Joel Lau is the Globe magazine’s co-op. All interviews have been edited and condensed.