Inspired by daughter, Tindal ‘letters’ TTCMC

‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ supports COVID-19 frontliners

A mother’s love and concern has helped launch a new card-writing program to benefit front-line staffers at Tennova Turkey Creek Medical Center.

Registered respiratory therapist Angela Iysheh, the daughter of Farragut Tourism coordinator Karen Tindal, literally has been on the front lines of the pandemic, treating patients at the facility throughout the nearly year-long infiltration of COVID-19. Very cognizant of what her daughter has been enduring, Tindal sends her encouraging texts every day.

“Nobody saw the pandemic coming, and I don’t think she, as a respiratory therapist, realized what she would come to be dealing with in her first years” of being in that field,” Tindal said. “There has been so much illness and death that she and all the hospital workers have been dealing with — I know it has been overwhelming.”

In a seemingly unrelated matter, she also was struck by the tremendous number of Santa Claus letters the Town received leading up to Christmas — a record 1,769 letters this year — in the third year of that holiday letter-writing program.

“We collected our largest number of Santa letters ever this year, and I thought if we could get that many letters of concern and encouragement (sent) to a fictional character, how many could we possibly collect to send to our healthcare workers?” Tindal asked.

Tindal spoke to Sue Stuhl, Town Parks & Recreation director, about her idea during the Christmas holidays, and they just recently solidified the planned 10-week letter-writing campaign, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered — We Care,” which kicked off Friday, Jan. 15.

Special green mailboxes have been set up outside Farragut Community Center (139 Jamestowne Blvd.) and Town Hall (11408 Municipal Center Drive) to collect cards, pictures or notes.

“Postage is not required,” said Tindal, who will oversee collecting and delivering the letters to Turkey Creek Medical Center every two weeks.”

The first two-week campaign’s suggested theme is “Thank you for your service.” Ensuing themes are: “Can You Feel the Love?” “You Make a Difference Every Day;” “We are Proud of You;” and “True Heroes Wear Scrubs.”

Tindal said letter-writing prompts and suggestions will be shared on the Town’s social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook, throughout the campaign.

“It’s just a way to say thank you and we care,” Tindal said, adding the campaign is designed to recognize as many TCMC employees as possible.

“My daughter’s very first job was at (a local hospital) in housekeeping, and she said it was the hardest job she had ever done,” she added. “So I think it is so important to keep in mind how this pandemic has affected everyone in our hospitals — not just the doctors and nurses — but everybody has been dealing with it on some level.

“We are asking anyone else who wishes to participate, to help us show our hometown frontline workers how much we appreciate them during this time of crisis. It’s my hope that we collect more letters than we did for Santa.”

For Tony Benton, president/CEO of Tennova East Market, the project means a great deal.

“We truly appreciate the Farragut community for the support they have shown Tennova team members during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“These past few months have been the most challenging for our team since the inception of the pandemic,” Benton added. “The increased volume and acuity of the COVID-19 patients has increased the workload on our employees. ... We are making personal sacrifices, and many of our jobs are simply harder right now. And yet, Tennova’s team members continue to go above and beyond ... .”

“We’re proud and honored to be Farragut’s hometown hospital.”