Habitat for Humanity of Kenosha is recognizing a Kenosha community member and current Habitat Homeowner for being selected as a Her Story honoree by Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin.
Her Story is a special project to kick off Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin’s She Served program, a statewide effort to honor Wisconsin women who have served in our nation’s armed forces.
During this unprecedented time in the nation’s history, Habitat recognizes that others have joined veterans in serving our country with courage and self-sacrifice — the essential workers who have been on the front lines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
A private recognition ceremony is set to be held at 9 a.m. today at Lisa Lavine’s Habitat home, 4711 60th St. She is to receive letters from local leaders and politicians, a Her Story Honoree plaque, a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor, and Habitat for Humanity of Kenosha has dedicated Oct. 1 as “Lisa Lavine Day.”
“We are incredibly excited for Lisa and her accomplishment,” said Angela Elliott, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Kenosha. “Lisa worked so very hard to fulfill her dream of owning a home, putting in more than 250 hours of volunteer labor alongside her friends, family, and community volunteers.”
“Lisa is a very hardworking and dedicated single mother,” said Joyce Pavlina, Habitat for Humanity of Kenosha board president. “She knows what she wants and she goes after it. To get a Habitat home, a person has to put in 250 sweat equity hours. Lisa put in her sweat equity hours, went to school, worked part time and took care of her two children. This is quite an accomplishment for anyone.”
As she continues her job search as a registered nurse during these difficult and challenging times, Lavine said she is thankful for her Habitat home that she’s fitted with HEPA filters and other improvements to help her son’s asthma and allergies. “I can truly not imagine where I would be if Habitat did not come along. I have something that I am slowly turning more and more into my own, something to be proud of!”
For the past 13 years, Lavine, has worked as a medical assistant at a local doctor’s office. Her job had been fairly routine, but all that changed on March 10.
Just a few days earlier, the staff had a meeting to talk about a new virus that had begun to appear in other parts of the world, and most recently, parts of the U.S. Not much was known about COVID-19, nor were there well established protocols for how clinics and hospitals should prepare for possible COVID patients.
That day, Lisa and three other staff discovered that they had interacted with a patient suspected to be infected with the virus. She and her co-workers were frightened and concerned for the well-being of their patients, their own health and the safety of their families. Lavine immediately began to advocate for increased safety protocols in their offices, but getting sufficient personal protective equipment (PPEs) and appropriate policies and procedures to protect their patients and staff was a struggle.
As the virus became more widespread throughout the country and schools and businesses were shut down, the doctor’s office eventually got the PPE they needed and increased sanitation procedures were put in place. But, unfortunately, one day in late March, Lisa began to have a fever that slowly increased throughout the day and she was sent home for a 14-day quarantine.
In the early days of the pandemic, testing was difficult to access and so was information on how to safely quarantine with family members in the house. As a single mom with two kids, one of whom has severe asthma and allergies, she was terrified that she would pass the virus on to her children. She spent the next 14 days confined to her bedroom while her daughter brought her meals.
Lisa still doesn’t know for certain if she had COVID-19, but the experience motivated her to focus on finishing the work for the nursing degree she had been working on with evening classes for nearly a decade.
In fact, she recently volunteered over 40 hours at a local hospital doing COVID screening, including her nursing school graduation day. Lisa explained, “I spent the day I was supposed to graduate nursing school as a nurse.
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