A paralyzing blizzard that dumped 4 feet of snow in the New York area didn’t discourage one determined nurse from getting to work.
Braving winds of forty miles per hour, Chantelle Diabate, 32, walked more than a mile through waist high snowdrifts to get to work at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale.
She was the only nursing home staffer who made it in to work on Saturday.
Diabate, who works the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. night shift, is being hailed as a hero.
The Washington Heights resident said calling out sick did cross her mind when she heard public transportation had been canceled due to the blizzard.
But she thought about her patients.
“We’re like family,” Diabate said. “I’m tired but I decided to work a double shifts. They need me.”
The single mom found someone to care for her 3-year-old daughter and she made plans to crash over at a friend’s place in the Bronx near her job.
Then she set out on foot through the snow in near white-out conditions.
“A friend walked with me and fell. At first I started out kind of like speed walking on ice. But then I realized this is like a workout and it’s dangerous,” she told the NY Daily News. “Then I thought, you know what? A slow and steady pace is going to get me there, eventually.”
“I walked for about an hour and all I kept thinking was, I really love my patients,” Diabate said.
“When I went out there, the wind it just, hit me in the face,” she said on Sunday as she worked the 2nd half of her double shift.
The Licensed Practical Nurse was the only staffer to make it in to work after 50 nurses called out sick on Saturday.
Hebrew Home supervisor Mojdeh Rutigliano said a few of the medical staff spent the night at the nursing home.
“The majority of our nurses called in sick. They just couldn’t come,” Rutigliano said. “Talk about crisis mode. But it was such a relief to see her come in.”
“I really have to love what I do make such a commitment,” she said. “This is what it means to be a nurse.”
At least 28 people died in the snow storm that battered the east coast this weekend.