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GRATITUDE

November 1, 2001
by Richard L. Peck, Editor
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              By the time you read this the World Trade Center disaster will be two months behind us. Barring a similarly horrific episode occurring in the interim, we will have had time to heal somewhat and to face life with perhaps a new clarity. But I beg readers' indulgence as I revisit the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and two nursing-home-related occurrences that went a long way toward helping me cope.

About a week after the event, I received a note from Valerie Day Wilden of St. Barnabas Health Services in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, proposing to share with readers how her organization (located about 100 miles from where United Flight 93 went down) pulled itself together and reorganized for disaster response to protect residents and staff. You'll see the results on p. 16. The thought of board members and administrators setting aside their own personal pain to undertake a detailed, painstaking planning session involving their entire organization inspired me in tackling my own daily duties.

On September 26, we conferred the 2001 OPTIMA Award upon Glengariff Health Care Center, located in Long Island, New York, only miles from the tragedy's epicenter. OPTIMA Award ceremonies are always my favorite time of year, and my spirits were heightened by the bracing, sunny weather and the view through fluttering green trees of bright blue Long Island Sound in the distance. Particularly heartening, though, was the obvious professionalism of a skilled and loving staff, caring for residents while fellow New Yorkers a few miles away scraped away at the terrible remains of the twin towers.

Good people go on, no matter what. These facilities showed me that, and for that I am grateful. NH

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