Across the globe, New Hampton School alumni are working hard in a wide array of occupations. From business executives to entrepreneurs, activists to civil servants, Huskies do it all. And, Huskies are also heroes. There are Husky Heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 healthcare crisis risking their lives for their communities in all corners of the US and the world. Here are a few of their stories.
Lauren D’Allessandro ’06
As an ER nurse at the Plymouth, MA branch of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lauren D’Allessandro ’06 has felt the weight of this crisis and has seen it escalate over the past weeks. Despite limited resources and personal protective equipment, she continues to care for patients and remains committed even in these uncertain times. “I have never been scared of going to work – but I honestly and admittedly can say that I am full of anxiety and fear when I go into work…I am proud to be a nurse and lucky to take part in such a fulfilling position where I help others who are in need.”
Tarik Sheppard ’95
No U.S city has been harder hit by the impact of COVID-19 than New York City. On the front lines of the city’s health crisis, Tarik Sheppard ’95 is a native of NYC and a proud Lieutenant in the First Deputy Commissioners Office of the NYPD, a cohort well-publicized for having limited personal protective equipment. His team has lost 27 officers to the disease, and he expressed how delighted they are when one of their fellow officers recovers and returns from sick leave. In addition to struggles with the disease itself, there are growing concerns surrounding crime in the city that never sleeps.
“This pandemic has caused people to do things in the community that they would not normally do – with people financially struggling, the local mom and pop businesses are unable to operate – people are turning to crime. Burglaries are on the rise, people are desperate to get money to feed their families and everyday crimes are also still occurring,” said Sheppard.
When asked what keeps him going, he said: “When I get dressed in the morning and my 9-year-old son looks at me and is so proud of what I am doing for the people of NYC – it is in the moment I realize I am doing the right thing and am in the right place.”
Mary Penniman ’11
As an active duty Engineer Officer in the United States Army, former Student Body President Mary Penniman ’11 is currently assigned to an emergency task force to assess, design, and determine the feasibility of existing convention centers, hotels, and dorms to be retrofitted into temporary healthcare facilities for COVID-19 patients due to overflow of ICUs.
“We are tasked directly from FEMA to conduct these rapid assessments to help our nation’s leaders develop a solution for the lack of hospital bed space and equipment to combat this pandemic. To date, myself and my team at the US Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division have assessed and consulted on projects all over Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and the US Virgin Islands,” Penniman explained. “If you knew me as a student at NHS, this job is PERFECT for me. I enjoy complex problem solving and thinking outside the box. The job is very demanding, but I am so happy to be a part of the solution.”
Michael Close ’96
When Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker secured over a million N95 masks in China and Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent his plane and trucks to retrieve them, Close, a Massachusetts State Trooper was at the ready. He and a few colleagues escorted one of the Patriots vehicles stocked with over 300 thousand masks to New York City. While his position in law enforcement always comes with its share of risks, those threats are heightened amid this pandemic with very limited protective equipment available for these officers while they continue to work with the public. Despite his consistent dedication, he remains humble saying, “I don’t want these accolades to be lost on those who are doing great things for our world. I’m fortunate to be a part of this, but the real heroes are the doctors and nurses and people such as Robert Kraft for making a difference. I just went along for the ride.”
We are so proud of all members of Husky Nation who are doing their part to support the fight against COVID-19. If you are a part of the New Hampton community and are working on the front lines of this pandemic, please reach out to Katie Wardrop (firstname.lastname@example.org) and share your story with us.