While many of us are working from home and avoiding contact with others during the pandemic, those who serve on the frontlines do just the opposite. They risk their life for others.

MacKenzie Davis is one of these. A 2017 graduate from the WLU nursing program, Davis volunteered to travel to New York City at the height of the pandemic to work in the ICU at NYU Winthrop, a 591-bed facility that is located in Long Island.

“Honestly, going to New York just felt like the right thing to do. I didn’t have any reason not to go. I’m healthy, young, and have the necessary experience and education to make a difference in the best way I know how,” she explained via email.

The hospital she’s now working at is one of six hospitals on Long Island considered coronavirus hot spots with some of the greatest totals of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations in the New York Metro area, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Long Island Press.

“I thought about my hardest days as a critical care nurse and wanted to offer some relief to my fellow healthcare professionals during what must be some of their darkest days,” she added. Her NYC assignment is for eight weeks.

“MacKenzie was a great student and a very bright young lady. It doesn’t surprise me that she chose to do this, since she was always a very giving person,” said Dr. Rose Kutlenios, WLU’s director of the nursing program in the College of Sciences.

MacKenzie doesn’t want any special praise and even asked her mom not to contact anyone in local news with her story, but her proud mother, also a WLU alumna, couldn’t resist telling WLU’s Media Relations Director Maureen Zambito.

Davis gives WLU credit for her confidence and nursing ability, “West Liberty has always been good to me. Even as a graduate nurse in an ICU, I felt competent and knowledgeable. I owe this to the nursing program preparing us so well.” 

“MacKenzie is doing well in New York and likes to be challenged,” said her mother Wendy Cook, who works as a nurse manager at Wheeling Hospital in the labor and delivery department.

“My daughter didn’t go with a group, she reached out to the hospitals in New York on her own and found a place to work by herself,” said Cook.

MacKenzie wanted to take her two dogs along to New York for companionship and is renting a house on Long Island since she needed space and consideration for pets. The house she found was for sale but the pandemic changed that and it was taken off the market for now.

“As a mom, I tried to talk her out of going to New York. But I’m incredibly proud of the person she is and her wanting to make a difference. Even when I was young, I don’t know if I would have stepped up to such a challenge. So my initial fear has now turned to pride,” said Cook.

“It’s a humbling experience when your child becomes your hero,” said Cook.

MacKenzie resides in Wheeling and normally works as a nurse with a flight company, Aero National, which flies out of Washington, Pennsylvania. She previously worked in an ICU at UPMC.

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