Mothers on frontline seek balance in COVID-19 fight


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Leslie Friedman, left, enjoys a moment with her daughters Chloe, center, and Jasmine Burns. Friedman is the director of nursing at Viera del Mar.

Jill Blue

These are challenging times for all area residents, but mothers who are working on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19 have been able to balance helping the community with taking care of their families.

Among them is 42-year-old Olivia Kelly.

Kelly is a mom to four children who works as a fire medic at Brevard County Fire Rescue Station 80 off of Pineda Court in Suntree. Though the burden of being a mother and working such an important and potentially life-saving job could be seen as stressful for some, Kelly instead has been seemingly able to manage both seamlessly.

At work, Kelly said, it’s largely been business as usual with at least one noteworthy exception, she added.

“Nothing much there has changed. They're (Kelly’s co-workers) like me. They go home and teach their kids. We're all supportive together,” Kelly said. “What has changed is wearing a mask on every call.”

Home life has seen more changes, she noted, as her kids transition to online learning. She said that her kids now are able to wake up at 9 a.m. and start school by 10 a.m. which she said was “a win for all of us.”

“It’s definitely been a transition,” Kelly added. “I think we've finally found our rhythm on Week 4. This past week was a good week.”

Kelly also said, that she was “very proud,” and deservedly so, with respect to what she was doing professionally.

“Definitely happy with this career choice and helping others and I know it's going to be one that I can look back on after retirement and be proud of and thankful for,” Kelly added.

Leslie Friedman, director of nursing at Viera Del Mar Health & Rehabilitation Center off Vidina Drive in Viera, is another mom helping the community in the fight against COVID-19, as she helps those in a particularly susceptible demographic stay safe.

“I feel it’s very important to be extra careful and protective and this time to protect the most vulnerable population against COVID-19,” Friedman said.

Friedman’s day-to-day work at the center has taken on new dynamics with the advent of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am in a COVID-caller meeting at least daily, if not more. We have had policy changes and recommendations change sometimes multiple times a day,” Friedman said.
“… I’m up in the wee hours in the morning checking temperatures and oxygen saturation.”

To that end, Friedman said that her family has supported her through the new challenge, as she stated that she relies “a lot on my family to help.” 

Friedman also offered praise for those working alongside of her at the facility.

“I think I have nothing but heroes working here right now,” Friedman noted. “I think that everybody has been extra helpful and a little bit more willing to go above and beyond to protect our patients here. I think it really has brought us all together.”