In visiting with health care workers at Memorial Community Hospital in Blair, Emhoff said he was impressed by how passionate they are about their work during the pandemic.

It really has been all hands on deck. Emhoff said he had learned that the hospital’s chief administrator, Manny Banner, had rolled up her sleeves to help out with COVID testing and vaccinations.

“I really applaud you for leading from the front,” he said.

Terrin Leehy joined the hospital’s emergency department in August just in time for COVID’s fall surge in Nebraska. Things at times got stressful and hairy, she said.

“We were stretched pretty thin,” she said. “It was scary, but you really did feel like a superhero.”

Now Leehy is part of the community’s vaccination efforts, which she said has been equally as rewarding.

“It’s so encouraging,” she said. “People are so excited to be getting these vaccines.”

At the vaccination site in a church next to the hospital, Terra Uhing, director of the Three Rivers Public Health Department, told Emhoff that the pandemic’s impact will be around for a long time. There are more people dealing with mental health issues and also people who have not taken care of their general health in the past year, including putting off cancer screenings.