As we come together to fight this global pandemic, I am continually impressed by the resilience, professionalism and dedication of our front-line caregivers, first responders and other providers of essential services. Without their commitment to serving others, we would not be able to get through this unprecedented crisis.

I could not be more proud of our clinical staff, who touch the patient daily. But I’m also grateful to our behind-the-scenes staff in pharmacy, laboratory, housekeeping, food and nutrition, facilities, and more who have been vital to the care of all of our patients.

I know our staff are balancing the concerns that we all have for our families, friends, and our own health, as well as the changes to our lives outside of work. They, like healthcare workers everywhere, not only care for the sickest patients, but are also managing extremely challenging issues at home. Children of all ages are home from school, some need to be home-schooled and others are on distance learning. Businesses are closed or at limited capacity, which impacts spouses, partners and other family members. Even though we credit the front-line workers for their courage, we know spouses, partners, mothers; fathers; sisters, brothers; sons or daughters have played a critical role in saving lives by supporting and understanding how to keep our front-line staff protected.

I am grateful to the community’s outpouring of support for health care providers on the front lines. We have been thankful recipients of handmade masks, food, PPE, hand-painted signs and rocks, but are most appreciative of the prayers!

The pandemic has posed a great risk to many vulnerable members of our community. Many nonprofits and other organizations are doing heroic work to help our neighbors by providing food, shelter and other critical resources. Their efforts are more critical than ever, so please continue to provide your support.

I am fortunate to work with so many dedicated health care professionals. I want to offer my heartfelt thank you to our staff. Thank you for saving lives. Thank you for holding the hands of our patients when they feel frightened or alone. Thank you for the extra shifts, volunteering to float when needed and for showing up with a willingness to help. We all hope and pray that this pandemic will end soon, but until it does, we are all in this together. I have never been more proud to work with this Bakersfield Heart Hospital team.

Michelle Oxford is CEO of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital.