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Pandemic Preparedness

Our health care heroes have continued to provide complex critical care to patients, communicate with family members, and stand in for loved ones when they cannot be there throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Foundation established a Pandemic Preparedness Fund in 2020 to ensure that these heroes won’t need to worry about the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to care for patients during this pandemic or future challenges. Please read the letters below encouraging you to support this effort. In order to donate to this fund, press the “DONATE NOW” button at the upper right of the screen or at the bottom of the page which will take you directly to the Donor Pledge Form. Thank you so much for your support of this program to benefit YOUR hospital and its frontline heroes.

Letters of Endorsement for the Pandemic Preparedness Fund

Charlie Tagman

As an early contributor to UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation's Pandemic Preparedness Fund, the Village Vettes Corvette Club endorses the establishment and continuing support of this cause.

The world was caught largely unprepared for the scope of COVID-19, but many people (as usual in our society) stepped forward to provide for the needs of our health care workers. Whether the needs are physical, procedural, personal or equipment, we need to be ready.

Maintaining a safe and secure inventory of personal protective equipment and supplies (procedural masks, isolation gowns, gloves, hair bouffants, shoe covers, sanitizers and goggles) is critical. Keeping abreast of changes in the supply chain for these products will bring assurance that the need to refill used or expired inventory can be done efficiently.

A recently announced 400-acre health care hub along the County Road 470 corridor anchored by a new UF Health The Villages® Hospital is testimony to the continued growth of The Villages®. Projections indicate close to a doubling of Villages residents.

As the population grows, so does the need for health care workers. We have a responsibility to our health care workers and our community to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. You have the full support of the Village Vettes Corvette Club in this important effort.

Charlie Tagman
President, Village Vettes Corvette Club

Benvenuto Americans of Italian Heritage Club

The Benvenuto American of Italian Heritage Club has been proud to support the Pandemic Preparedness Fund through our fundraising efforts this past year. While our hospital has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) today, it may face challenges in the future.

In a crisis, PPE such as N95 respirator masks, isolation gowns, face shields, goggle, etc. will be purchased using donations such as ours to ensure that frontline health care workers at UF Health The Villages® Hospital have adequate equipment and supplies to successfully deal with those affected by the pandemic. These donations become even more important as the virus continues to ravage our communities and state.

Tony Licate
President, The Benvenuto Americans of Italian Heritage Club

Phil Walker

Continuing our long history of supporting valuable causes, on behalf of The Villages Homeowners Advocates (VHA), an organization here in The Villages® that strives to advocate for Villagers, we are pleased to endorse the efforts of UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation for the Pandemic Preparedness Fund.

In these uncertain times, it is essential that we, as a community, ensure that we are as prepared for future emergencies as we are during the pandemic today. Supplies and equipment are often in short supply in times of crisis. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be used only a limited number of times, thus an emergency fund would ensure the availability.

There are virtually no emergency situations when the hospital and its health care workers would not be essential. As The Villages® continues to grow, having the PPE and other supplies available would ensure that our community will be in the best possible position to handle the inevitable. We should all be in this together.

Phil Walker
VHA President

Scott Sander

We are all living through very extraordinary times the likes of which most of us have never experienced. These are the times we must pull together and support those in need. For us, in our community, the ones we really need to support are our heroes, our health care workers.

The pandemic has forced many of our health care workers to sacrifice their lives to help others. They selflessly are there for us, working countless hours, despite the dangers to themselves and their families. The most likely predictions are that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon so we need to make sure that we support our heroes so that they can continue to be there for our community.

I am encouraging you to join me by contributing to the UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation's Pandemic Preparedness Fund. All funds you donate are being used to make sure our health care providers have sufficient personal protective equipment in the event of another pandemic outbreak.

We are all in this together. Wishing you and your families good health.

Scott Sander, CPA
UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation Board Chairman

Phyllis Baum

Our health care professionals are here and stand ready to care for the community whatever health needs arise. They are committed to promoting excellence and ensuring safety for those in their charge despite the personal impact. The pandemic has brought unique and prolonged challenges and strains on the health care providers as it has on our community. From offering complex critical care to standing in when loved ones cannot be present, they answer the call each and every day.

We remain grateful for the support and encouragement shown by the community throughout this time. It fuels the energy, passion and resilience needed to complete the tasks at hand for however long this pandemic exists. While we currently have the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely care for our community, knowing you support us in the ongoing fight – whether it is funding future PPE, a card of thanks or word of encouragement – means more at this time than words can express and lifts our spirits with profound gratitude.

Sincere thanks for your consideration.

Phyllis Baum
Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at UF Health Central Florida

Harry Lumpkin

LumpkinI unequivocally endorse UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation’s Pandemic Preparedness Fund. The fund’s goal is to ensure that an adequate reserve of personal protective equipment and other supplies are on hand for our frontline health care workers in case of a major disaster or emergency medical surge.

As a retired military U.S. Army officer who has served our nation in two wartime conflicts, I can attest to the fact that success is strongly influenced by the ability to respond to changes in emergency situations. I believe that this fund will enhance our health care community’s ability to plan and posture appropriate assets to deal with unpredictable medical emergencies. More importantly, it will protect our medical personnel as they make sacrifices to serve us. They need and deserve our help!

WE CAN DO THIS! We can make meaningful contributions to our community. We can be leaders in supporting our frontline doctors, nurses, and health care workers, our heroes who give their all so that they can take care of us. This is an opportunity to return the favor and take care of them. We must be “ALL IN.” This is our chance to pay it forward. I am ready… are YOU?

Harry N. Lumpkin
COL(R) U.S. Army

Gerry Lachnicht

LachnichtFirst responders have worked tirelessly to protect our community since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in America. This is why Sabal Trust is proud to support the Pandemic Preparedness Fund to ensure sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available for our frontline workers.

PPE such as masks, gloves and sanitizers are essential to keeping health care professionals safe while  they do the hard work of saving lives. By having the means to acquire additional PPE when needed, UF Health The Villages® Hospital will be able to let the doctors and nurses in our community focus on their  good work without the risk of bringing the virus home to their own families.

Our frontline workers need our help now more than ever, and Sabal Trust believes that we owe it to our health care workers and community to help keep everyone safe.

Gerry Lachnicht, CFA
Managing Principal, Sabal Trust

Gail J. Lazenby


It may seem odd to be talking about pandemic preparedness at this stage of the game, however, many of the country’s health care professionals expect a second and even third wave of COVID-19 in the coming months. Will we be ready? There has been lots of talk about the amount of PPE (personal protective equipment) that has already been provided by the state and federal governments. But PPE is disposable.  In a hospital setting, a mask is supposed to be used once, with one patient and then discarded. Of course, the same is true when it comes to gloves, sanitizing wipes, gowns, shoe coverings, alcohol prep pads and so much more. When I was the EMS Captain for The Villages Fire, I was continually amazed at how fast and how many of these items we went through.

The UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation has established a PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS FUND so that we will be ready when the next wave hits. We must be ready to protect our health care workers so that they are available to help us. When the time comes and you are called upon to help with this fund, remember you are actually helping yourself.

Capt. Gail J. Lazenby, M.S., EMT-P (Retired)

Lorraine Brown

LorraineAs the Chief Clinical Officer and Site Administrator for UF Health The Villages® Hospital, ensuring the safety and protection of our staff during this pandemic is of utmost importance. On behalf of the staff, the commitment of our Auxiliary Foundation to the safety of the staff and their willingness to establish this fund for that purpose is appreciated!

The Pandemic Preparedness Fund will assist us in ensuring that the staff has the needed supplies as we face the unknown duration of COVID-19. By taking away the fear of inadequate protective supplies, it allows the staff to focus on meeting the care needs of our patients. We have experienced the support of the Auxiliary Foundation from the onset of the pandemic through their contribution of cloth masks for non-clinical staff and volunteers, face shields and many other items. This program takes those efforts one step further and really connects The Villages® community and hospital in our efforts to care for our community members.

Lorraine Brown, VP, Chief Clinical Officer and Site Administrator
UF Health The Villages® Hospital

George Counselman

CounselmanPandemics are, by nature, unpredictable. As we’ve observed with COVID-19, it takes time for the medical community to handle a newly discovered disease. They must learn how to identify it, how to reliably test for it, and how to limit the spread. They also work to determine how best to treat, cure and prevent it. Simultaneously, the support chain has to find the best way to predict current and future needs.  Treatments and cures may not even exist. Those predictions are compared to the items on hand and estimated manufacturing capabilities. Then the items, including personal protective equipment (PPE), will be acquired and distributed to the locations on greatest need.

While all this is going on, our frontline workers are dedicated to caring for their patients. These heroic people need adequate PPE to ensure that they do not become infection and risk spreading it to their families and the rest of the community. The Pandemic Preparedness Fund exists to ensure that our frontline workers can be adequately protected while the scientific and logistical efforts progress. I strongly encourage you to join me in supporting this fund, which will allow our hospital to be ready to acquire sufficient PPE to protect our frontline workers from the beginning and throughout the fight against a pandemic.

George Counselman
UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation Board Member

Duane Johnson

JohnsonWhen I was asked to endorse the UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation efforts to prepare for the unknown, I did not hesitate. The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has been described by many medical experts and in many different ways, but no one knows how long this pandemic will last. Until then, we must prepare for a contingency to be in the best possible position for our community.

The Pandemic Preparedness Fund was established to prepare for the unknown and to ensure that frontline health care workers at UF Health The Villages® Hospital have adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) and other supplies.

Your donations to this fund will be used on PPE designed to be used only one time on known or suspected COVID-19 patients (i.e., procedural masks, isolation gowns, gloves, hair bouffants and shoe covers).

Please give what you can.  We owe it to our health care workers and our community.

Duane M. Johnson, President 
VHA Community Foundation 

Stan Sidor

SidorI am writing today in support of the Pandemic Preparedness Fund created by UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation. This fund, which proactively works to protect our frontline health care professionals, will be a critical component in responding to current and future health care events. As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded, we all learned how vitally important personal protective equipment (PPE) is in creating a safe hospital and community.

In this crisis, we learned that the supply chain was so overtaxed that health care professionals had to reuse their PPE, placing them and their patients at a high level of infection risk. Health care professionals believe we may see a second or third wave of the coronavirus. By donating to this fund, you are supporting the future PPE needs of our doctors, nurses and other frontline workers in the event of another crisis.  You will be taking decisive action to reduce the impact of those waves and future health care epidemics.

By taking a step to protect our health care workers in this and future emergencies, we also protect ourselves, our families, friends, and neighbors.

Stan Sidor, Ed.D.
Lake-Sumter State College, President

Cliff Wiener

WienerThe Property Owners’ Association (POA) of The Villages wholeheartedly endorses the Pandemic Preparedness Fund that has been established by UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation. As we saw at the beginning of this pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply across the country.

It is important to Villages® residents that our health care workers at UF Health The Villages® Hospital are protected so they can protect us. These heroes need our support and our proactive efforts to ensure they never go without PPE to keep them and their families safe.

Residents of The Villages® are in a vulnerable category with age and multiple health issues. We all know of someone personally who has been affected by the current pandemic. Villagers expect world-class health care and that cannot happen if we don’t have doctors, nurses and other frontline staff who can be assured they and their families are working in a safe environment with the appropriate equipment.

We appreciate the foresight of UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation in the face of our unknown future. The POA will lend its support in any way possible to encourage Villagers to support this critical effort.

Cliff Wiener
President, Property Owners’ Association of The Villages®

Russ D’Emidio

DEmidioNever in over 100 years have we faced such a horrific pandemic. In this extremely contagious and deadly environment, our health care workers and support personnel have taken great risks to treat so many patients. They never doubted for a moment what their Hippocratic Oath called them to do. The needs for personal protective equipment and testing supplies have been overwhelming. How do we ensure that should this need ever arise again -- whether tomorrow, next year or in the future -- they will always have what they need to treat and save so many lives?

The answer is the Pandemic Preparedness Fund established by the UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation. Over the past 15 years as a community leader and member of our hospital system’s Board of Directors, I have witnessed the power and generosity of our residents. They rise to the occasion.

I invite you to join me in contributing to this fund to meet these needs of our Health Care Heroes. 

Thank you,

Russ D’Emidio
UF Health Central Florida Advisory Board Member

Diane Kupchak

KupchakI believe the following definition hits the nail on the head…..

a state of readiness, especially for war.

And we are indeed in a state of war; battling the COVID-19 virus.

Preparedness is the keyword. We need to be prepared as we move forward in these unprecedented, strange times. As in any war, we must be vigilant and focus on being able to protect our community, team members and patients. While we cannot prepare for every challenge we may confront in the coming months, this fund will assist the hospital in this fight should the need arise. Please join us as we build an arsenal to fund the ammunition for future battles that likely will come our way.

Diane Kupchak
UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation Board Member

Marilyn Ten Eyck

Ten EyckPandemics are unpredictable. That is why it is so important to have our community hospital at a state of readiness. The frontline health care workers are putting themselves in harm’s way each day as they face the task of alleviating pain and human suffering. Our hospital team members deserve the community’s support to help ensure their health and safety. 

Now, more than ever, we need to make certain that our hospital is in the best possible position in the event of a future pandemic. I enthusiastically encourage you to contribute to UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation’s Pandemic Preparedness Fund.

Marilyn Ten Eyck
UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation
Royal Palm Society Member

Special thanks to the Benvenuto Americans of Italian Heritage Club, the Rotary District 6980, the Village Vettes Corvette Club, and Hope Lutheran Church for their donations.

Other Programs

Hearts for Our Healthcare Heroes

It's not only the doctors, nurses, technicians and technologists who are on the frontline of caring for those in our community during this coronavirus outbreak. It's also those who prepare the meals, clean our facilities, and ensure that medical equipment is functioning. All of these people provide help and hope when we are at our most vulnerable. You can help by:

  • Making a donation to directly aid team members who are experiencing hardships.
  • Purchasing gift certificates/cards from local restaurants for team members who are often working 12 hour shifts. Or you can donate new gift cards you have tucked away and haven’t used.
  • Sending a welcome card or letter of thanks to team members who are on the front line fighting against COVID-19. We will make sure they are delivered to those who need them the most.

Check the flyer below for more information and ways to donate.

Download Flyer (PDF)

Protect the Heroes

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has joined with The Creative Coalition, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy to form the “Protect the Heroes” campaign. It allows you to make direct donations to your hospital. Every dollar raised in this effort goes to purchase personal protective equipment and other support for our local health care workers to fight COVID-19. As AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack has said, “In recent weeks we have seen an outpouring of support from Americans eager to help our nation’s health care heroes on the front lines of COVID-19. This initiative is about making a difference directly in communities and providing immediate support for our brave women and men on the front lines of this pandemic.” Thank you for supporting your local healthcare heroes.

Wednesday Wisdom

In an abundance of caution as the COVID-19 pandemic came to our state, hospital volunteers were sent home as of March 19, 2020. Our dedicated volunteers were sad to leave the hospital and we were sorry to see them go. It was a tough time for us all. The 'Wednesday Wisdom' notes below were written by our president, Dick Campbell, to all volunteers and friends who were suddenly not seen in the hospital. It was a way to stay in touch for all of us and ease the loss we were feeling. Please feel free to browse each document and read them as often as you like or share them with others. They might bring a smile to your face or ease your longing to return to our “old normal” just as they did for us.

Download 'Wednesday Wisdom' by date: