Nine “Healthcare Heroes” were recognized at Wednesday’s Poulsbo City Council meeting for their service in 2021 and beyond, along with their assistance in responding to healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 virus has created many challenges and hardships for Poulsbo residents,” Mayor Becky Erickson said in a news release. “The city recognizes and is deeply grateful for these individuals’ sacrifices and service.”
Additionally, the council approved $10,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to buy as many COVID test kits as possible and give them to small businesses in Poulsbo. It will be at Erickson’s discretion on how it will be distributed and who receives them. The city still has over $1 million left in ARPA funding.
The Healthcare Heroes are:
•City volunteer Alane Basco
Basco and her colleagues at North Point Church set up and managed vaccine clinics and cooling centers at the church to assist Poulsbo residents. She also led a volunteer team to help people sign up for COVID vaccine appointments who were unable to make online appointments because of internet access or language issues. Thanks to Basco and her team of volunteers, hundreds of Poulsbo residents received personalized assistance when appointments were difficult to obtain.
•Poulsbo Safeway pharmacist Tore Hagerup
Hagerup has provided thousands of COVID and flu vaccines at Poulsbo Safeway pharmacy. He is being recognized for his work with the city’s Housing, Health and Human Services Department to provide vaccines and boosters to Poulsbo residents with mobility issues who found it difficult to leave their homes. Hagerup has worked with the HHH to identify vaccination appointments and testing opportunities for the city’s vulnerable residents.
•Poulsbo Rite Aid pharmacist Jashper Jingho
Jingho has provided thousands of COVID and flu vaccines at Poulsbo Rite Aid pharmacy. He is being recognized for his willingness to assist the city with two drive-up flu vaccination events—despite the long hours and challenging environments.
•Poulsbo Police Chief Ron Harding
Access to behavioral health care has been a challenge during the pandemic—just as the need for mental health and substance use disorder services is increasing. Harding has been a champion of field-based behavioral health outreach since arriving at the Poulsbo Police Department, and has started, supported and improved three city behavioral health initiatives. The city recognizes Harding for his leadership and support of the police navigator, Fire CARES team and After Hours Success Coach programs. He shows the potential police departments have to improve the health outcomes of their communities.
•Bainbridge Community Pharmacy owner Mark Tan; Bainbridge Prepares executive director Loren Bast
Tan and Bast, along with numerous staff and volunteers working with Bainbridge Prepares, organized vaccine clinics on Bainbridge Island that vaccinated thousands of people throughout the region. The duo worked with the city of Poulsbo’s Housing, Health and Human Services Department to vaccinate elderly and disabled Poulsbo residents in their homes and connect hundreds of individuals with limited internet access and English language skills to vaccine appointments.
•Kitsap Public Health; Department of Emergency Management employees Anne Moen and Doug Blangsted
Moen is a community outreach specialist for Kitsap Public Health, and Blangsted is deputy of operations at the Department of Emergency Management. They both have been central to the drive-up COVID testing effort throughout the county that has served over 13,000 people—and run the weekly testing site at Poulsbo City Hall.
•Olympic Peninsula Community Clinic executive director Scott Brandon
Clallam County-based OPCC partnered with the city in 2021 to hire a behavioral health professional for the Poulsbo Fire CARES team when no Kitsap agency was able to assist. Brandon and OPCC have given an outstanding level of service to the Poulsbo Fire Department, the city of Poulsbo and city residents, through Fire CARES, despite being located in Port Angeles. The Poulsbo Fire CARES program helped over 300 individuals struggling with behavioral health issues in 2021—providing in-person, home-based support and case management at a time where COVID limited the availability of office-based services.
All nine individuals will receive a pin from the city.
“They’re unsung heroes, and it’s time to sing their praises,” Councilmember Connie Lord said. “A lot of people don’t realize how many others behind the scenes it takes to make something positive happen.”