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Act of kindness: Renfrew man helps local nurses by clearing snow from vehicles during storm

"Coming off another exhausting shift, the last thing I felt like doing was digging my way out of the snow," said Patty Gravelle. "I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry."
steve
Patty Gravelle, an ER nurse at Renfrew Victoria Hospital, snapped a photo of her husband clearing snow off staff vehicles. He was unaware his wife snapped this photo.

It was 5:30 p.m., and as Patty Gravelle threw her jacket and hat on after finishing her shift at the Renfrew Victoria Hospital, Monday, she was dreading the idea of having to clean off her car and shovel around it in order to leave the parking lot. 

Much to her surprise, she reached her car only to find, not only was it completely clear of snow, but the snow around the car was gone too.

Gravelle glanced around the staff parking lot and one-by-one she saw cars parked along the rows were also cleared off and she knew it was done recently because snow was still falling.

Suddenly, in the distance she saw a lone figure clearing the snow off a car located in the far end of the lot.

She smiled and shook her head.

“I found my vehicle cleaned and shovelled out and could see someone in the distance cleaning and shovelling other vehicles and soon realized it was my husband Steve," Gravelle said. “He didn’t know I had snapped his picture. He is just that kind of guy, quietly doing nice things for people without expecting a thank you or recognition.”

Having known her husband for 32 years (married 14 of those years while raising two daughters together), she was not surprised by his generous and unassuming gesture.

Then again, she is not surprised when she heard that others in Renfrew had done the same thing.

Although it was a small gesture, the timing of such a kind deed meant so much to her and her fellow ER nurses who have been on the front line dealing with COVID, on top of all other cases that come through the doors of a busy department.

She has seen it all during her 25 years of nursing, and the last 12 years at RVH have been challenging at times, especially the last 22 months.

“Working as a nurse has been very challenging considering the COVID 19 pandemic, staffing challenges, and shortages, and increasing demands placed on staff with sicker people and working in full PPE including N95s for 8-12 hours per day," explained Gravelle. "Coming off another exhausting shift, the last thing I felt like doing was digging my way out of the snow. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

"I heard that there was someone else doing the same thing in the other parking lot as well, and suspect there were others out there doing similar things all day,” she added. "We live in a community that cares for their neighbours and friends, and I feel so grateful to be married to one of these amazing people.”

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