Friends of Tellurian,
As we cautiously enter 2021, I must take a moment to reflect on the past year, and share with you the overwhelming pride and gratitude that 2020 left for me in its wake.
As we entered 2020, we were in the final stages of preparing for what was to be our first annual Tellurian Not-a-Gala, a fundraising event to allow us to help those without insurance, and help end the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction. The event was a gigantic success featuring a great meal, an amazing speaker (our very own Raeanna Johnson, Director of Community Engagement, on the topic of life after losing her brother to addiction), silent and live auctions, and entertainment from Piano Fondue Dueling Pianos….by all accounts, a wonderful evening. Little did we know that shortly after that event, we would find ourselves faced with a pandemic unlike any our country has dealt with before.
As the CDC began warning of the virus and it’s spread across the United States, our management team immediately began researching, working with Public Health, and planning for how to keep our clients, patients, and staff safe from COVID-19.
When Wisconsin shut down on March 17th, 2020, our management team made the brave and very real decision that while COVID-19 was scary, many more people might die if Tellurian closed its doors. Our laser focus became how to continue safely serving our clients and keeping our doors open to those desperately needing help, all while protecting staff and clients against COVID-19. To say that I was proud of our team in that moment would be a drastic understatement.
At a time when many other treatment programs were forced to shut their doors, Tellurian faced the COVID storm and never shut down. Upon being declared an Essential Business by Governor Tony Evers, our team willingly worked overtime to make Telehealth a viable option for our clients to continue to receive therapy, adjust medications, and meet with their doctors. We learned what PPE would be necessary to keep employees safe, and what disinfectants the CDC required to kill the virus on surfaces. We set up staff to work remotely when possible, moved people to safe distances in the office, added plexiglass dividers where appropriate, and spared no expense to keep our staff protected. Our Medical Director worked closely with the CDC and Public Health to prepare a virtual meeting for staff to keep everyone informed of the latest COVID information each week. When PPE became scarce, we had managers and directors phoning contacts, and picking up donated supplies all over south-central Wisconsin so that Tellurian could continue serving the needs of our clients. Again, pride is not a word strong enough to describe the deep appreciation and gratitude that I felt watching the Tellurian team do literally whatever it took to continue serving clients, while keeping our staff safe and healthy.
From a business perspective, 2020 turned out to be a pretty great year for Tellurian, thanks mostly to the extremely hard work of our dedicated staff. Local businesses also heard our stories and supported our mission with physical donations of hand sanitizer, PPE, and medical grade masks. Generous donors sent cash contributions through our Home for the Holidays campaign and other fundraising opportunities that made up for our cancelled golf outing, allowing us to continue serving those that didn’t have means to pay for life-saving treatment for mental health and addiction. The combination of these factors made last year a tremendous success financially. But possibly more importantly, proved beyond doubt that Tellurian can weather any storm because of our steadfast team of employees.
2021 is just beginning, and already it shows promise of better days coming with vaccines, new science-led leadership, and a better understanding of this virus and how it works. I feel confident that Tellurian is in position to not only face COVID-19 head on, but will continue to help the over 8,000 people that we serve each year with integrity and compassion.
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