A bench honouring Windsor and Essex County nurses, who have been standing strong on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, will be placed outside the former St. Bernard School in Amherstburg, site of a new nurse practitioner’s clinic.
The bench, along with another one in Windsor’s Jackson Park, is being installed to mark this year’s recipients of the Lois A. Fairley Nurse of the Year Award, which is bestowed annually for demonstrating “a commitment to serving the community through excellence in delivering patient care.”
Ordinarily, the winning nurse receives a plaque as does the nurse’s workplace. But the judges this year felt all Windsor-Essex nurses deserved recognition for the compassion, care and courage they’ve shown under incredibly stressful circumstances. Instead of plaques, one bench is being installed in the city and another in the county to honour the heroism nurses have shown on the frontlines.
“This has been a time filled with stress, anxiety and concern. There has also been a great deal of compassion, professionalism and leadership shown,” said Crystal Hepburn, president of the Windsor Essex Chapter of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. “All of the registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and nursing students should be quite proud of their efforts to ensure that our community maintains its health and strength during this unprecedented time.”
John Fairley, the son of Lois Fairley, said Amherstburg was an ideal location for the county bench because of the Town’s many parks and the fact it was now home to a new, nurse practitioner clinic. He said the benches would serve as a constant reminder of the courage and commitment shown by nurses in the battle against COVID-19.
"Windsor-Essex can be proud of and grateful for the care shown by our nurses serving in hospitals, public health, homecare, clinics, physician's offices, and nursing homes," said the Fairley family in a statement announcing this year's award winners. "They all deserve to be celebrated. Thank you one and all.”
Lois Fairley graduated from Grace Hospital’s nursing program in 1955 and spent her career there as a nurse and head nurse. She also served as President of the Ontario Nurses Association and on the provincial board of directors for the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, which instituted the award in her name in 2008.