In early March, as Covid-19 brought the province of British Columbia to a grinding halt, seniors like those living in Bria Communities retirement homes retreated to their apartments for safety. TVs and radios were on non-stop as seniors sought information about the virus; it was then they met Dr. Bonnie Henry for the first time.
“She won everyone’s hearts during the provincial health briefing in early March when she teared up as she talked about protecting vulnerable seniors from the coronavirus,” says Janice Miller, Marketing Partner for Bria Communities. “After that, in our senior homes, she became the undisputed authority on everything related to health and safety during the pandemic.”
Seniors weren’t the only ones who noticed her calm, authentic demeanour. Her gentle, intelligent and persuasive ways inspired Facebook fan pages, artistic homages, t-shirts, jewelry, and even a singular pair of pink Fluevog shoes. And as the months wore on, appreciation for Dr. Henry spread Canada-wide and even leaked across the border when the New York Times printed an article lauded Dr. Henry’s character and efforts.
Now in the third phase of re-opening in BC, residents like Ruth Shankland of Sunridge Gardens are reflecting on Dr. Henry’s leadership and its impact on their lives. “We want to thank you for your wisdom and courage during the Covid-19 pandemic,” wrote Ruth in a card address to Dr. Henry. “You have asked us to be kind, to be calm and to be safe, and we so admire the way you have modelled these things for us.”
This week, Bria residents and staff sent dozens of messages of thanks in the form of handwritten cards and smiling photos and a video message directly to Dr. Henry in Victoria.
“Her leadership has had a direct impact on every one of our residents and staff, and has no doubt taken a personal toll,” notes Janice Miller. “We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’!”