Delawareans banding together to support Beebe health care heroes

DELAWARE – After hearing stories from other parts of the country, some Delaware residents have banded together to house Beebe’s health care heroes.

“We have 16 homes and 50 bedrooms,” says Susan Thornberg, a Delaware homeowner.

Dr. Timmy Cheng posted on Facebook that he works in California as a pulmonary and critical care specialist treating COVID-19. He said he decided to live in a tent in his garage so he wouldn’t get his family sick.

Alyssa Burks recently shared a photo of her husband, Jared Burks, on Facebook. He’s a doctor in Arkansas and took a moment to say “hi” to his son through a glass door. He’s distancing himself from his family because he doesn’t want to put them at risk.

“We’ve watched the nightly news and we saw stories about doctors living in tents outside of their homes because they were afraid to bring the virus home to their families,” says Rich Thornberg, a Delaware homeowner.

Susan Thornberg posted on Facebook on Sunday, “My husband and I have been in touch with Beebe hospital and there are healthcare professionals that are not living at home because they are afraid of bringing the Coronavirus home to their families. We have decided to offer our unoccupied Rehoboth home for use by healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. Please let us know if you would also be willing to make your home available. We are putting together a list of families and information for Beebe. As this is all uncharted territory, logistics are being developed. Together we can help keep our community safe.”

That simple post on Facebook, asking if anyone had an empty rental property or vacation home, led to dozens of responses. “The outpouring of support has been pretty amazing. When Susan first posted this on Facebook and some other social media outlets we were talking about it and she said we might be able to get five houses and there’s far more than five now,” says Rich Thornberg.

According to Beebe, those homes are now backup options because local hotels have also offered to help which they say is a little easier to coordinate. “We’ve had hotels reach out to us. Some of them have been very generous in offering rooms and things,” says Tom Protack, the President of the Beebe Medical Foundation.

In addition, other locals have coordinated a campaign with Beebe called #CrushCorona to support health care workers as well as local businesses by donating $25 gift cards.

“So it’s a win-win because we are helping them with some business, some gift cards being sold and keeping some of their team members working and certainly it’s a win win for our team members,” says Protack.

Protack says they hope to collect at least 2,600 gift cards so that every single staff member can get one regardless of where they work at the hospital. On Tuesday he told 47 ABC they have about 500 gift cards so far.

Whether it’s donating masks, gift cards, food or even homes, locals say there’s one common goal. “I think if we all help then maybe we can get that curve to flatten a lot sooner,” says Susan Thornberg.

If you’d like to add your home to the list of places that can house Beebe health care workers you can email Susan Thornberg at susanthornberg@gmail.com

If you’d like to donate gift cards for the #CrushCorona campaign: click here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Local News