Heroes Work Here: The View from the Front Line at Community Medical Center

Members of the Community Medical Center team in Toms River have been tirelessly caring for patients, and one another, as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout it all, they have responded with strength, skill, and compassion, and shown who they truly are – heroes.

A few of these heroes shared their personal stories, revealing what it is like to work on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, and the moments that will stay with them forever.


Noreen Graham, Rapid Response Nurse: It’s just been amazing how everyone has pulled together and really worked hard to keep our patients safe and our staff safe. Everybody pitching in, everybody working together, everybody trying to be right there, on the front line, doing the best they can, even though it might not be what they do on a normal day.

Haydee Dubman, Phlebotomist: I did have the fear at the beginning, you know, back a few months ago, but now it’s not a fear anymore. I just walk in, I ask God to give me to strength every time I walk into the room, and I’m okay with it.

Timothy Cash, Maintenance Worker: When I come into the building, I still feel the same. I’m here to do a job, and I’m here to help as much as possible. We’re here to support the staff 110 percent.

Patrick Ahearn, CEO, Community Medical Center: I love the people that I work with, they are amazing people and do great things. Our focus has been the right thing. It’s about how do we take care of our patients and our community?

Lindsey Smith, Stroke Coordinator: I have been assigned as part of the proning team. So, the proning team is a new group of people that we’ve put together in our ICUs to help our ventilated patients that are COVID.

Andrew Artiles, Patient Transporter: We turn patients into the prone position for a period of time, and then turn them back into the supine position for another period of time, and fortunately we did see positive outcomes with patients.

Danielle Melapinoi: Surgical ICU Nurse: We have had loss of lives and you know, you get to hold those hands of those patients and sometimes you’re the last person they see, and you know, the faces of those people and they kind of just stick with you.

Daniel James Wong, Nurse: I’ll be the hands to hold their loved ones in their time of need. It’s really profound. It’s an honor to be able to help someone know that their loved one is cared for.

Kim Fallon, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: We understand that people die, but you know, just sometimes when you see it, you know , so up close and so much more frequently, it’s just gonna have an impact. I think there’s a lot of trauma that’s gonna come from it, just the loss of friends, family, staff.

Kelsey Ramsingh, Medical Surgical Telemetry Nurse: It’s so tragic what we’ve seen, and what we’ve gone through, and losing patients, it’s really hard, and you know, you go home and that sticks with you.

Meika Neblett, Chief Medical Officer: What hurts me more is the living and that’s what always gets to me is: how is the living going to walk tomorrow and think about this moment, is this moment going to be okay for them?

Kelley Esposito, Administrative Director for Ancillary Services: We are all in this together, even though sometimes we feel, you know, we’re just so isolated within the walls of the hospital, but it truly is a whole community that is pulling together

Marianne Holler, Palliative Medicine Physician: I cannot say enough about the nursing staff. These are some amazing human beings, but Plant Services, Environmental Services, the Housekeeping people – everybody – everybody has been in this building, working as a unit for the good of the patient and for the best outcome for everyone.

Patrick Ahearn, CEO, Community Medical Center: It was a desperation to really take care of people and a sense of urgency. But, I think what’s getting us through the tragedy and the difficult times, is the fact that we have really come together as a family, and we take care of each other.