Life After 50: Betty Would Be So Proud

Volunteers administering the COVID-19 vaccine to seniors through their vehicle window Saturday at Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Elizabeth Coons

Smith’s Pharmacist Dr. Catherine Fry prepares for the event Sunday in White Rock. Photo by Elizabeth Coons

Executive Director

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

This helps us to remember these wisdom keepers and this weekend I spent time with one of those groups.

One week prior, the Betty Ehart and White Rock senior centers were notified that they would be hubs for the COVID vaccine from Moderna. It was a stunning, daily unfolding of events that allowed it to take place. Many businesses and individuals came together to make it happen in addition to needing to accomplish their day jobs. It feels, in hindsight, like a miracle.

Nambe Pharmacy personnel were the real heroes because without their commitment the events would not happen. They had the help of Wendi Wolfe and Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Services (who did Board President Rick Reiss proud!)

Los Alamos County staff Donna Casados, Eloisa Sanchez, Beverley Simpson, LAPD, LAFD, along with facilities, pavement and communications, provided everything from muscle, to ice melt, cones and more.

Smith’s Pharmacist Dr. Catherine Fry monitored the vaccine. Senior center staffers Elizabeth Coons, Abbey Hayward and Amy Vigil helped in almost every conceivable role.

Then there were the volunteers, my husband Chad, Gabe, a Nambe pharmacy spouse, a nurse named Irene and her friend Bradley filled many spots.

Then there were my seniors. On Saturday, John Baillie and Kay Burick helped to watch patients during their 15 minutes on the sidelines.  On Sunday, Don Gerheart and Tom McLaughlin performed the duties. The four were never in harm’s way of coming in contact with patients, but many vehicles spread over two days lead to some interesting moments.

Again, I thank Nambe’s Frances and Tom Lovett and Julie Acosta-Ortiz for allowing us to serve our community’s seniors. While these vaccines were meant for only those seniors 75 and up many of these community elders built this town. One sad note for me personally was there was no vaccine available during this weekend for my staff members. This team feeds 3,000 seniors a month, provides transportation, performs more than 100 grocery trips and errands. Those duties are what keeps us employed, allows staff to maintain their insurance and provide for our families.

While we hope this issue gets remedied soon, it certainly will be a hole in our hearts until that time comes. Since the beginning I have told our employees that the state finds us to be “essential employees” but when two of my co-workers had to help me deliver the message (no vaccines available for them) not just Saturday, but again on Sunday, it hurt. We aim to serve.

I personally thank Dr. Yang from Los Alamos Medical Center. If I had not had some help with my feet two weeks before I could not have been a part of our world changing history. If you have foot or ankle pain, stop suffering and pay him a visit.


Volunteers administering the Covid-19 vaccine to seniors from Betty Ehart Senior Center through their vehicle Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Elizabeth Coons

Los Alamos County’s Eloisa Sanchez (left) and Donna Casados (right), do double duty as traffic control and registration, dedicating many hours of help Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Elizabeth Coons