Frontline Heroes: Roberta Smith, Patty Oakland, Tommy Larson, Joan Donham, Dr. Laura Mordi
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — To mark the one-year milestone of the COVID-19 pandemic in Routt County, Steamboat Pilot & Today asked people to nominate local individuals who they believed went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roberta Smith stepped into the Routt County COVID-19 firestorm while it was raging. Serving as the director of public health, Smith’s expertise, professionalism and experience immediately brought a sense of direction and calm to the community.
Patty Oakland has been a leader throughout COVID-19 in seeking out and sharing information that allows the Steamboat Mountain School community to respond to the pandemic. She has a student-first approach and has worked tirelessly this school year to communicate with students, parents and faculty throughout the school day, in the evenings and on the weekends. In addition, when necessary, she spent her weekends contact tracing and talking for hours with faculty and students to determine quarantining needs. Patty never once complained or delegated these tasks to other faculty and staff. Patty also shared every resource she found with other schools, day cares and nonprofits in town. Whether she was offering to partner with other organizations to share testing information and resources or talking through protocols, Patty reached out to others and sought ways to support the health of the Steamboat community.
Tommy Larson is a direct support professional at Horizons Specialized Services. If he is working, the adults he supports are laughing, feeling good and having fun. Tommy uses his wide variety of skills and hobbies to connect with the people he supports — from skiing and sledding to playing drums and riding horses. He has so many connections around town that allow him to create wonderful, unique opportunities for the individuals in Horizons.
Joan Donham is an orthopedic physician’s assistant with Steamboat Orthopaedics and Spine Institute, which hasn’t turned away any hand surgeries since last March. Joan always has a smile for all the patients, and after they are recovered, she smiles a hello to her people in town whenever she sees them.
Dr. Laura Mordi works for Steamboat Medical Group and has gone above and beyond for her patients during COVID-19. “She met me on a telehealth visit at the beginning of the pandemic and helped diagnose me with brain cancer,” said Tara Antonio, who nominated Dr. Mordi as a Frontline Hero. “This fall when my incision from my brain surgery became infected, she did a house call to swab my incision for a culture. She did the house call because I was not allowed to drive, and we were in quarantine because my husband had COVID and was in isolation in our basement.”
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