Whitehall firefighters donate to local long-term care center

Local News

WHITEHALL, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A group of long-term care residents can now see their families thanks to an iPad donated by Whitehall firefighters. It’s used by residents to video chat with friends and families as they can’t have in-person contact during the pandemic. First News at Nine’s Max Cotton spoke with firefighters and has more on what this donation means.

Whitehall volunteer firefighters try to donate to Gundersen Tri-County Hospital’s Whitehall long-term care center facility each holiday season. Fire Chief Jeremiah Pientok says they normally buy a bunch of gifts and give them to residents.

Pientok said, “We were not able to go shopping and we knew we weren’t going to be able to go into the nursing home and present the gifts.”

COVID-19 meant they had to come up with a new plan, so they decided to send the facility an iPad.

“We talked with some of the staff and the number one thing that kept coming up is if there was a gift that would allow them to keep talking with their family and friends,” said Pientok.

Hospital and long-term Care Center CEO Joni Olson says the donation is more than a nice gesture, it will help improve the residents’ health.

Olson said, “To be able to see their families and loved ones and not only hear their voices on the phone but see their faces at the same time, see familiar surroundings, see their facial gestures, that’s a big part of their health and wellbeing.”

She adds, during the holidays there are a lot of worthy causes. That makes it even sweeter that Whitehall firefighters decided the long-term care center’s residents were worthy of a donation.

Olson said, “This gift to come to our residents in a long-term care center, what a wonderful gesture and what a great community-minded gift to donate.”

Firefighters keeping people connected during the pandemic.

In Whitehall, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

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