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Nye County residents honored as Nevada heroes

Throughout the disruption and chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been everyday citizens doing incredible work to help their communities through these difficult times, giving countless hours and endless energy in the mission to keep people safe, healthy and connected and Nevada Health Response is striving to ensure those actions do not go unnoticed.

The Nevada Hero of the Day initiative is geared toward identifying and recognizing those who have continued to soldier forth in the face of the global outbreak, from those doing simple tasks such as helping out their neighbors to those whose efforts have a wide-reaching impact on the communities is which they live and work. Nye County has no shortage of these amazing individuals and three residents have already been selected as Nevada Hero of the Day.

The first Nye County resident honored with the title of Hero of the Day was Stacy Smith, who is a notable figure in the community well-known for her efforts with the NyE Communities Coalition.

“Stacy Smith is the CEO of NyE Communities Coalition, or NyECC, a nonprofit founded in 2002 to build various advocacy and partnership coalitions in Nye, Esmeralda and Lincoln counties,” a press release from Nevada Health Response read. “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, NyECC assisted people filing for unemployment, coordinated warehouse food donation and distribution, while still holding weekly virtual community meetings. According to her nominator, Stacy’s ability to obtain grants and continue vital programs through the pandemic is making a difference in the lives of many Central Nevada citizens.”

On May 18 the honor went to another Nye County resident, with Gaby Cruz being named Nevada Hero of the Day. As the owner of Serenity Health, Cruz has played a major role in the COVID-19 pandemic by stepping up to provide testing to the communities all spread far and wide across Nye County.

“Gaby Cruz is the owners of Serenity Health, the provider of health and medical services to the county jails operated by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gaby has led the drive for county employee and public COVID-19 testing throughout rural Nye County, administering more than 1,200 tests at a time when counties had limited access to testing,” the Nevada Health Response news release detailed. “Since holding their first drive-up testing clinic in Pahrump on March 28, Serenity Health has done testing in Amargosa Valley, Beatty, Round Mountain, as well as multiple testing dates in Tonopah… The ability to test in rural Nye County has been crucial to helping treat and isolate people who test positive, and help county officials on mitigation efforts, and characterize the prevalence and spread of COVID-19.”

Tonopah resident Stephanie Otteson was then named Nevada Hero of the Day for May 27.

“Stephanie Otteson took over as the Tonopah Volunteer Ambulance Service coordinator on March 1, or as her nominator described, ‘In the heart of the (COVID-19) nightmare.’ As the ambulance service coordinator, Stephanie leads 10 ambulance service volunteers in the Central Nevada mining town of Tonopah,” the news release on Otteson’s selection stated. “With Tonopah’s remoteness in Nye County, the nearest hospital is more than 100 miles northwest in Hawthorne. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephanie and her staff of volunteers worked to make sure they were equipped with required personal protective equipment in case they come in contact with a COVID-19 patient. Stephanie’s position is a part-time, volunteer job. Full time, Stephanie manages the Sierra Vista Inn apartment complex near the courthouse.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over and Nevada Hero of the Day nominations can be made by anyone who wishes to recognize the compassion, kindness or hard work of a Nevada resident. Nominations can be made via email at NevadaHero@gmail.com

Submissions should include the name of the person being nominated, a photo and a brief description about the nominee.

Everyone selected as a Nevada Hero of the Day will be featured on the Nevada Health Response Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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