Qualicum Beach nurse Marcia Kent has been dubbed an ‘Unsung Hero’ by BC Hockey and the Vancouver Canucks.
Kent earned one of nine awards in B.C., presented to frontline workers who have showed special courage and dedication while working through COVID-19. The organizations said the awards were presented to “a person that does the job to ensure that their patients, co-workers and community members receive the service and support they need during this time.”
Kent first showed her dedication while opting to stay away from her husband and their twin boys while working in the emergency department of the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, designated as one of two Vancouver Island frontline COVID-19 hospitals. She was then offered a beach house to isolate in from a kind stranger.
“It’s five minutes away from my home and literally on the beach,” said Kent, after getting the news. “Happy tears for sure! I’m absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude and my family is so thankful I have this beautiful spot to retreat to after my shifts.”
Kent also volunteers in her community as a U-11 tournament organizer and with her children’s school.
“I love volunteering because it connects me to other people and keeps me involved with my children’s well-being and interests,” she said. “When not being a full-time shift working nurse, I am passionate about volunteering with Hospice, our boys’ sports and school PAC where time permits.”
Kent said it was a true honour and surprise to receive the award, but it also came at a bittersweet time. Kent had recently done CPR on a neighbour and friend who later passed away in hospital.
“To be honest, I thought it was a spam email at first as it came from a representative of the Vancouver Canucks with a personalized congratulations video from one of their players,” she said. “This award is bittersweet for me, it’s way bigger than being a hockey mom or nurse. It actually represents an angel of a person, our late neighbour Sherry. I want to honour her.”
Kent said a big part of the award is about and for Sherry, who had been bringing Kent’s children cookies while she was away working. Kent happened to be home on the day Sherry was on her way to deliver cookies, the same time her heart stopped.
“Despite our collective best efforts and the heartache of Sherry being taken off life-support a few days later, it warms my heart to know that her husband, children and grandchildren had enough time to travel out to say goodbye,” said Kent. “My family and I are broken-hearted yet forever grateful, for the pure kindness Sherry showed our boys by delivering them cookies weekly while I couldn’t be with my family. Our boys painted rocks to look like chocolate chip cookies and put them in our garden in her memory.”
Ralph Loberg, Sherry’s husband, said Kent worked tirelessly until paramedics arrived.
“It’s comforting to know Marcia did everything she could do to give Sherry a chance to survive. I truly believe she is worthy of this award. We have been able to see Sherry [spend] her last moment doing what she did her whole life, reaching out and helping to provide community connections and comfort through her baking for the boys,” wrote Loberg. “She just wanted to ensure the boys (Marcia’s twins) had a little extra TLC while their mom cared for others.”