LOS ANGELES - Thanksgiving was no holiday for many on the coronavirus frontlines. For Nicole Benson, a hospital chaplain, it was a twelve hour shift at a Dallas area hospital on Thursday.
Benson is from Long Beach but is a pastor now in Texas. With advisories to curb big friends and family Thanksgiving Day celebrations Benson chose not to gather with a crowd but to show up alongside her work family. Her mom, choosing not to visit from California.
It's not an easy day in COVID times. Benson has asthma and has to weigh the risks each time she enters the hospital to comfort not just family and friends of ill loved ones but also the medical teams who face their own emotions during this pandemic.
For Benson, taking on chaplain work had its own personal challenges. She says she suffered losses as a child and had to work to overcome her own personal memories and losses. She attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Langston University, an HBCU in Oklahoma.
Her Thanksgiving was filled with gratitude for her fellow frontline workers, staff, doctors and nurses at the hospital. Benson is a chaplain at two hospitals and counsels in domestic violence.