There was a steady stream of people arriving for an event Monday outside the AGA Academy in northeast Calgary, as the private career academy said thank you to front-line workers who are fighting the battle against COVID-19.
“We called this day ‘COVID-19 Pandemic Heroes Day,'” Abby Villanueva, the AGA Academy president, said.
Villanueva and her staff handed out certificates and gift bags to about 250 invited guests.
“These are health-care providers,” Villanueva said. “Front-liners that are working in grocery stores, convenience stores, and even teachers are coming in as well.”
Among the health-care providers were several who work in care homes for seniors.
“Right now, we have some cases of COVID and we are trying to help our clients to recover,” health-care aide Aileen Mendoza said. “And we never know if we will get it as well, because it’s all over.”
The recipients of the recognition also included many who are serving the community outside hospitals.
“I am volunteering for the church, helping with the youth,” recipient Rainnier Morales said.
AGA Academy said the efforts of all recipients were well worth recognizing.
“This is the least that we can do for our front-liners that have been working nonstop,” Villanueva said. ‘We are here to provide hope that we can do this and if we stick together and we appreciate each other, we could be able to move forward and make COVID-19 go away.”
Health-care workers at the event know they’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of them.
“Sometimes it’s very challenging, because we’re always short-staffed,” health-care aide Mariethel Campos said. “We have to keep everyone safe.”
The front-line workers say they’re determined to meet whatever challenges might lay ahead.
‘We will not give up,” health-care aide Marilyn Forteo said. “We really think of those seniors — we really love them”.