A local nonprofit organization typically takes cancer patients out on Lake Champlain for sailing excursions, free of charge. But this year, they’ve focused on bringing health care workers some relaxation.

Health care workers have been busy around the clock for months now, saving lives and dealing with the novel coronavirus.

For Doctor James Dougherty, who runs a local family care practice, these uncharted waters have been tricky to navigate. “It’s been a struggle to change our whole mode of business from in-person care to telemedicine visits, and then now we’re working back to in-person care again, trying to stay flexible and adaptable in the way that things have changed in health care.”

When he learned he’d been nominated for a ‘Health Care Heroes’ respite sail, he said a break on the lake with his family was just what he needed. “It’s great, I’m grateful for the opportunity. I mean the hard work is great work and I’m happy to do it, but it’s nice to be offered this opportunity to get out on the lake and take a break and take my family out with me. So we need a little extra time together and that’s a great thing to have.”

These voyages are possible because of community donations. Sylvia Oblak, executive director of Healing Winds Vermont, says the nonprofit is happy to put its resources to use and give these ‘Health Care Heroes’ some much-needed rest and relaxation. “This is all about them, this is their sail, this is their five-star experience out on the lake. And it’s just an amazing powerful way to give back to these people who give so much to us.”

To make a donation or to nominate a ‘Health Care Hero’ click here.