Kerri Wenerick, LPN, has been selected by the Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball team as one of 41 Frontline Heroes to “surround” Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The honorees are spotlighted on street banners around the ballpark for the 2021 season. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is typically reserved for Phillies players.
In addition to being featured on a banner, Wenerick was honored on the field as part of the team’s opening day ceremonies at the ballpark. She is the only Frontline Hero chosen from Central Pennsylvania.
Wenerick was nominated by her employer—Country Meadows Retirement Communities’ West Shore (Mechanicsburg) campus. She had no idea her co-workers nominated her for this honor.
“I was shocked! Our team always knew we were appreciated, that was never a question, we just stayed on autopilot and kept going. For me and my team to be recognized is really a blessing,” says Wenerick.” I am honored, but what means the most to me is that the community is seeing the difference that our team has made.”
According to the Phillies, the 41 Frontline Heroes were selected from nearly 500 nominations submitted in early February by fans who all shared heartwarming and personal video testimonies of local essential workers who stepped up to the plate to help the community during the pandemic.
Wenerick heads Country Meadows’ Community Health Support Center which provides care for individuals recovering from COVID-19, ensuring guests receive proper care and attention they need, which may not be safely available in the community or at home. “We help to manage COVID spread by limiting exposure from positive patients to their families, neighbors and staff members,” adds Wenerick.
According to Country Meadows of West Shore campus Executive Director, Laura Stausser, “When we look back at when the pandemic began, none of us foresaw that we would still be fighting COVID a year later. From the beginning, Kerri put her hand up and said, ’I’m in this fight with you, and I’m going to own this unit to make sure that every single resident that comes through those doors knows that we are dedicated and committed to seeing them recover and get back home.’ I could not be more proud of Kerri and the entire team and what they’ve done over the past year.”
“It was very scary when COVID began, but then our fear turned to diligence and we knew that we had a duty to protect our residents from COVID. That was our end goal—protecting our residents no matter how much effort and sacrifice we had to make,” says Wenerick.
To nominate Wenerick as a Frontline Hero, Country Meadows was required to create a short video telling the Phillies why she should be selected for this opportunity. Click here to view the nomination video.
After learning she was chosen for this honor, Wenerick traveled to Philadelphia in February for a photoshoot with the team’s staff to create her banner.
“We were overwhelmed by our fans’ passionate stories of so many brave individuals who have been on the front lines since the onset of the pandemic,” said Michael Harris, Phillies Vice President, Marketing & New Media. “As we celebrate the excitement of our home opener, we tip our caps to all these remarkable men and women who represent the countless essential workers who continually go above and beyond every day.”
Wenerick knew she wanted to be a nurse serving older adults since she was a teenager. She says she has found her true calling. “This is more than a job to me. Like the saying goes, ‘You never work a day in your life if you love your job,’” she says. “I really truly do love working with the older generation and look forward to coming to work. It’s not just a job to me.”
Click here to watch a story on Wenerick’s honor done by CBS 21 News in Harrisburg.