SCTCC Delivers Care Baskets to National Guard Members

Photo of gift baskets
December 10, 2021

On Dec. 3, a Paynesville resident contacted the SCTCC Foundation seeking to honor service members working locally in health care due to the heightened pandemic need. She was deeply moved by the selfless response and unexpected service and care their presence afforded her husband who had earlier been admitted to St. Cloud Hospital for a heart attack. 

She said, “They provided amazing care!  We saw firsthand the shortages of staff and the experience of families not able to follow their loved ones into acute care settings. We realize the National Guard are being called to serve in ways they likely never imagined.”

Meanwhile, SCTCC, which provides coursework to become a Nursing Assistant, was providing emergency Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training for 13 members of the National Guard to serve in under-staffed health care centers and assist in long-term care around the state. “We are so pleased to respond in this time of crisis,” said SCTCC President Annesa Cheek, “and humbled by the commitment of the National Guard members to learn and to serve their communities in need.”

Finishing on Sunday, Dec. 5, the Guard members became qualified Nursing Assistants through an intensive 9-day course normally completed over eight weeks.

“SCTCC is a unique and valuable asset to our communities in Central Minnesota,” said SCTCC Foundation Board President Dave Borgert. “The College has a reputation for focusing on the workforce skills and needs of the community and moving quickly and decisively to address those needs.”

Partnering with the generous support of Coborn’s Grocery, the SCTCC Foundation utilized the donation from the Paynesville couple to provide holiday care baskets to each National Guard member as they departed from SCTCC, prepared for duty. President Cheek and SCTCC Foundation Director Daniel Larson delivered the baskets and addressed the Guard members Sunday afternoon.

“It was an honor to thank the contingent of service men and women who studied at SCTCC. Right now, our country is in desperate need of individuals who possess the skills they have recently acquired through our Nursing Assistant program and during this season of giving, when they will likely be away from their family and loved ones, we couldn’t imagine sending them off empty handed.” said President Cheek.

Four members were immediately deployed Sunday evening, heading in pairs to Onamia and Fergus Falls health care facilities, and remaining members expected assignments in the coming hours. Just as the National Guard probably did not imagine serving in this manner, the Paynesville donor, choosing to remain anonymous, recognized, “Your organization [SCTCC] also likely never imagined training for a pandemic. Thank you for making our wish to honor their service this holiday season come true.”

Latest update – SCTCC was chosen to begin training 20 more National Guard to be CNAs for emergency deployment by Dec. 17.

Photo: Dr. Annesa Cheek, SCTCC President, and Daniel Larson, SCTCC Foundation Director, with Care Baskets for the National Guard members receiving emergency CNA training at SCTCC.

Kate Wallace