Where there’s a will there’s a way. A 22-year-old Mississippi certified nursing assistant proved just that after trekking more than 25 miles on a four-wheeler during a winter storm in order to make her shift. 

Pinecrest Guest Home, a 60-bed skilled nursing facility in Hazlehurst, MS, honored CNA DeShawonte Cooley last week for her supreme efforts during severe, bitter weather that the state is not accustomed to. 

DeShawonte Cooley and her choice of
transportation to get to work recently.

“I had already been out for COVID [precautions] and I was determined to get back,” she told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Wednesday. “The patients, they keep me going.” 

Cooley, who lives more than 25 miles away from the facility, said the combination of snow and increased traffic prevented her from driving to work as she would on typical days. 

DeShawonte Cooley

Thanks to a neighbor who loaned her an ATV four-wheeler, she was able to beat the winter conditions and make it to her patients. 

“Mississippi really doesn’t get snow. It was something that was kind of new,” she said. 

“It was scary and cold,” she added. “[Less so] scary because that’s what I do. I like to ride [four-wheelers] but it was cold.” 

The facility celebrated Cooley’s dedication on their Facebook page. The post has been shared more than 600 times and commented on about 150 times. One of the commenters praised her for her “special heart” and added they hope her “employer knows how important you are not just in times like these but at all times.

She took the praise in stride. 

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