Covid Hero: ‘There were days where it took everything to get out of bed – but I knew that people depended on me’
A nurse who helped manage a coronavirus outbreak in a nursing home while recovering from cancer surgery said he stayed committed because he knew he was needed.
Darren Hunnicutt, 38, worked at the Matilda Smith Williams Nursing Home last year after every almost everyone had contracted Covid-19 – all while dealing with lethargy caused by a thyroidectomy he had the year before.
Mr Hunnicutt admitted: “There were days where it took everything to get out of bed – but I knew that people depended on me.”
He added: “My entire career has been frontline service and giving back to people.
“I’ve never done anything done for recognition, so to have this many people say that they were impressed by the job I was doing is shocking.”
Mr Hunnicutt was speaking after 26 people nominated him as their “Covid Hero” for his dedication and warmth throughout the pandemic.
The Royal Gazette asked the public two weeks ago to nominate someone who played an invaluable role in their lives during the pandemic.
Several of Mr Hunnicutt’s colleagues singled him out in a joint nomination for the roles he played since moving to Bermuda from Florida.
Mr Hunnicutt told The Royal Gazette that he moved to Bermuda with his wife in November, 2019 – about a month after a double mastectomy and two months after he had his thyroid removed, both because of cancer.
He said that he took time to recover from the surgery, but jumped at the opportunity to help once the coronavirus reached the island.
Nominees said he put his best foot forward while working at the Devonshire nursing home despite the long hours and the danger of the job.
They added that Mr Hunnicutt was even offered a job as the home’s new director – but turned it down to instead support testing efforts at the LF Wade International Airport, where he rose up the ranks and led testing efforts at every port of entry.
He was ultimately promoted to take charge of all Government testing operations.
One colleague, Susan Kirkeby, said that colleagues, travellers and residents at the nursing home were all impressed by Mr Hunnicutt’s work ethic and friendliness.
She added that he often went weeks without days off but never once complained.
Mr Hunnicutt said that he was “flattered” and “shocked” by the nomination.
He added that he always wanted to be kind to others because he never knew what a person might be going through and saw an opportunity to make someone’s day brighter.
Mr Hunnicutt said: “Growing up we would have superlatives where we would vote for best looking or most popular – I never got any of those but I did win most helpful.”
He added: “I guess it’s that whole ‘do unto others’ mantra – I would always want people to be that way towards me so that’s the way I have always been.”