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A Different Kind of Holiday, But Still Plenty to Be Thankful For







The above quote and picture came from our daughter, Zoey, eight-and-a-half years ago. In preparation for Thanksgiving, Zoey’s preschool teacher asked each student what they were thankful for and wrote their answers down on the sharing board for the parent program. When our family saw this quote, it immediately became our favorite Thanksgiving memory.






Zoey joined her “forever family” at the age of 3-and-a-half from a small, rural village in China. Zoey was left in a grocery store when she was about seven days old, born with a cleft lip and palette, and spent the first two years of her life in a Chinese orphanage. After being taken in by a wonderful Chinese foster family, she joined our family in a new country, with a new house, new holidays, new types of food, and a new language.

Fast forward to six months after joining our family — she was speaking fluent English but was still very quiet and shy in her new environment. One of the very first things she said out loud in her class was the above statement, “I am thankful for my home.” 

While Thanksgiving has always been a time of reflection and giving thanks, I know this year may feel a little different. Regardless of how your holiday will look, there is no lack of thanks and gratitude for the noble work your hospitals and front-line workers have done this year. We may not be able to control the world around us – COVID-19, wildfires, power outages, and more – but we can still choose how to respond. And in the middle a pandemic, you answered the call — no matter the crisis — jumping in whenever and wherever you were needed. Your hospitals:

  • Converted areas to make room for more beds and canceled non-essential surgeries to assure there was adequate hospital space for COVID-19 patients
  • Managed another year of public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). While ongoing work and planning with PG&E has been beneficial in ensuring that hospitals have adequate notice and backup generation, PSPS still have the potential to disrupt your operations.
  • Watched as wildfires burned throughout the state, frequently in your own backyards. Sometimes this was far too close for comfort, at times necessitating evacuation of hospitals already stretched to the limit because of the pandemic.
  • Navigated numerous local testing orders that often conflicted with the California Department of Public Health guidance. A lack of testing supplies and lagging turnaround times for results have certainly not helped the situation.

But through it all, your commitment to your communities has never wavered. For nearly nine months and (still) counting, you’ve worked 18+ hour days, sometimes spent days, if not weeks, away from your families and loved ones, and comforted COVID-19 patients and their families. For all this, and more, you have my most sincere gratitude.

This year, more than ever, allows us to reflect on the things that are truly important. The Hospital Council is thankful for the opportunity to work with you in providing the best care for Californians when they are in their greatest need.  Please take the time this Thanksgiving to think of all the friends and family who are part or have been part of your lives. Our family will be doing that and celebrating our “forever family” in Zoey’s home.

Happy Thanksgiving!