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Alumni Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic interrupts the lives of millions across the globe, Windsor Law alumni are stepping up to help their communities in meaningful ways — from offering free accommodations to essential workers, to making hand sanitizer in their distilleries, to launching grassroots fundraising efforts, to finding innovative ways to serve their clients. We will be showcasing some of these inspiring stories on this webpage, so check back regularly for updates.
 

Law Alum Returns to Nursing to Serve Indigenous Community

When Martina Dwyer '11 pursues something, her passion shines through. Upon learning of the public health nursing shortage due to COVID-19, she made the decision to temporarily leave her law practice in Hamilton to make an impact on the frontlines of the pandemic in Northern Ontario.

Indigenous health services dwindled significantly amid the pandemic, and Martina answered the call. Commissioned by Indigenous Services Canada, she was assigned to the nursing station in Keewaywin First Nation, an Oji-Cree First Nation and one of the northernmost communities in the province of Ontario. During her four-week appointment, Martina's duties include COVID-19 preparation and screening within the community.

Martina's education is expansive. In 1985 Martina graduated with a diploma in Health Sciences from St. Clair College and became a registered nurse. She continued her career in perinatal intensive care while obtaining a certificate in public health nursing from the University of Windsor in 1993. She then pursued a Pedorthics degree, as well as a Bachelor of Science and Nursing in 2008, before obtaining her law degree from Windsor Law in 2011. She was appointed to the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario) in January 2020 and was recently appointed as chair of the Governance Committee.

Martina travelled to Keewaywin First Nation with a month’s worth of medical supplies and scrubs. She is using her education and experience to help keep the community safe and ensure it can both protect itself from the first wave of this virus and prepare itself for the inevitable second wave as well.

"Not only do I have an immense feeling of self-satisfaction to help this community," says Martina. "But I am also humbled by the invaluable learning experience I am receiving about Indigenous Peoples in Northern Ontario, their culture, their challenges and their resilience.”

She says her days are intense, ensuring that no details are missed as she teaches other frontline workers essential processes ranging from how to properly gown before a shift to how to safely return home at the end of the day.

As if she wasn't busy enough already, Martina also hosts a one-hour radio program twice per week. The show provides an opportunity for community outreach, involving community members in the education process amid COVID-19.

Although she didn’t know it at the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, she was perfectly positioned to assist the community when they needed it most. As the courts suspended much of their operations due to the pandemic, more time became available for Martina to act. During her temporary leave from her law practice, Martina has entrusted the day-to-day operations to her daughter, Julianne Fogarty – also a lawyer and University of Windsor alum, obtaining her Bachelor of Science in 2014.

Founded in 2014, Martina's law practice offers 30 years of experience in pedorthics and nursing, which has uniquely situated Martina at the intersection of law and health. Moving forward, Martina's plan is to continue working in the areas of both law and nursing. She states, “being busy has taken on a whole new meaning. I am driven by helping people overcome their life challenges."

- Published May 19, 2020


Kingsville-Based Hotel Offers Free Accommodations to Essential Workers

Amid the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Windsor Law alum Jennifer Flynn and her family have opened their boutique hotel in Kingsville to essential workers who are putting their family lives on hold to care for those in need. Over the last few weeks, The Grove Hotel's 'Hotel For Heroes Program' has welcomed firefighters, police officers, paramedics, doctors and nurses — allowing the Flynn Family to see firsthand the Herculean effort of essential workers to keep our community healthy and safe.

Caring for others seems to be wired into the Flynn DNA. Jennifer, who obtained her law degree from the University of Windsor in 1998, established a career in law before shifting gears to pursue a career in healthcare. Her husband, James, obtained his degree in Sociology from the University of Windsor before pursuing the family ethos set forth by his grandmother, Janette Schram (Flynn), who opened her first senior housing facility in Tilbury, Ontario.

Since then, the Flynn Family has been a leader in the senior housing industry, with over 30 years of experience. The family expanded to the hotel industry in 2016, taking over one of the oldest properties in Kingsville (established in 1854) and turning it into a beautiful and unique boutique hotel. According to its website, The Grove Hotel features 18 themed rooms - each as different as its guests - and offers a memorable visit each and every time.

“We feel Canadians, as a whole, are doing a good job of social distancing, but realize there are many heroes who work in healthcare who selflessly continue to go to work, only to have to worry about their own health and that of their families after a long and undoubtedly physically and mentally draining shift. That’s where we think we can offer some help and peace of mind”, said Jennifer. “We love and respect the work done by the heroes in our healthcare system and if we can be a small part of helping all of us get through this, we would be honoured and humbled.”

Their daughter Emma Flynn, a third-year Health and Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Windsor, continues: "I'm proud of my family for choosing to step up, despite the significant economic impact of the provincial closures on our family's business." 

“These uncertain times that we are facing together, if anything, has given us time to reflect on what is really important and what really matters. We know that it’s the members of our community, those whom we have made a connection, and it's our health, happiness and the ability to see through tough times together and come out the other end," said James.

The Grove Hotel, in Kingsville, Ontario is looking forward to welcoming back guests as soon as possible. The Grove Hotel can be found at www.mygrovehotel.com, on social media (Facebook and Instagram: @mygrovehotel) or be contacting them directly at (519) 712-9087.

- Published May 1, 2020