Administrator Brad Fierce recently received a surprise, and very personalized, thank you from RESIDENT COUNCIL members for his dedication to patients and their families. The thank you display even included a picture of a motorcycle, because everyone knows how much Brad likes to ride!
Darien, IL resident, Brad Fierce, an administrator at Belhaven Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 11401 S. Oakley, recently received a "heroic efforts" award from Belhaven's healthcare consultancy company in Hillside, IL for helping evacuate 22 stranded patients from LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa after their building sustained severe damage on February 28th by an EF-3 tornado.
The award presentation came as a complete surprise to Fierce at a March 7th meeting of healthcare administrators and other staff who work in collaboration with Infinity Healthcare Management, a consultancy company based in Hillside. The award was jointly presented by Michael Blisko, owner, and Carrie Dipaolo, Chief Operating Officer.
"Brad is an outstanding example of a person who is committed to the well-being of others, no matter what the situation," Blisko said. "His leadership and courage to make a significant difference without fear for his own welfare were incredible." DiPaolo concurred saying, "His efforts that night were positively selfless considering how dangerous the conditions were and how scary it was working in an area that was hard hit by a tornado. We just want to recognize and reward the work he did helping so many and transporting them to safety."
Fierce, who up until December 2016 had worked in Streator, IL at the Parker Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, about 20 miles away from Ottawa, is very familiar with the County Home having helped evacuate patients from there before when the Illinois River flooded. Fierce said he was wrapping up a routine work day at Belhaven when he first heard the news about the tornado touching down in LaSalle County. He immediately called his friends at the County Home only to hear sirens and building alarms blaring in the background when they answered the phone.
"The minute I heard that, I knew they were in big trouble," said Fierce. "I jumped into my car and drove the 100 miles to the County Home through the worst weather I have ever encountered." Indeed, he was driving through the storm front as it departed LaSalle County and headed eastward. He described the sky as going from brown to black with blinding rain, constant lightning, and an onslaught of hail. At times the wind was so strong, he said, it felt like his car was being blown backwards. Other vehicles on the road around him sought refuge under viaducts.
While driving, he coordinated efforts with Parker staff so they could meet him at the County Home with the Parker bus and their own cars to transport all necessary supplies, medications, personal belongings, and medical equipment. Upon arrival, he immediately began triaging patients alongside the County Home nursing staff, selecting patients who would be appropriate for Parker, all of whom were elderly, and many had dementia.
"It was an orderly transfer and I'm just thankful I had the courage to go," Fierce said modestly. "It took a team to pull this off - it was hardly all up to me. I was just glad to help."
Pink balloons, prayers and poetry marked this special breast cancer awareness event for the residents and patients at Belhaven Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago. They gathered outside under clear blue skies for a thoughtful afternoon of remembrance.
Residents released their balloons at the conclusion of the program showing solidarity with those who have faced this challenging disease. Belhaven administrator, Solomon Mizrahi, acknowledged activity director, Jacky Burnette, her staff and other employees for their assistance organizing this meaningful event along with a sale of T-shirts and other items to help raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness.