John O’Connor

The devils in our midst seem to grab all too many headlines. Meanwhile, the angels quietly — and often heroically — simply do the hard work that must be done.

As for the latter, I think we can all agree that DeShawonte Cooley is truly an angel among us. She personifies the very best in long-term care. Her recent example of compassion and grit should be an inspiration to us all.

As my colleague Danielle Brown reported last week, Cooley is a 22-year old certified nursing assistant who lives and works in Mississippi. 

When a freak cold and snow storm recently hit the Magnolia State, temperatures plummeted into the single digits. Driving rain, sleet and snow made roads impassable for most vehicles. 

But that didn’t stop Cooley from making her shift, despite the fact that she lives more than 25 miles from the Pinecrest Guest Home, the 60-bed skilled nursing facility where she works.

All Cooley did was borrow a neighbor’s four-wheeler and ride through some of the worst weather the state has seen in years.

“It was scary and cold,” she said. “[Less so] because that’s what I do. I like to ride [all-terrain vehicles] but it was cold,” she told McKnight’s

As for what motivated Cooley to power through, she credited the residents. “They keep me going,”  she said.

The facility celebrated her dedication on its Facebook page. The story has been shared more than 600 times and received about 150 favorable comments. She took the praise in stride. 

“When you’re actually determined to do something,” she said, “you will get the job done.”


John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s