Inspiring People: Pandemic brings out the good in SWFL in 2020

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Tony Mansolillo cooking food for those in need. (Credit: WINK News)

While COVID-19 is likely what we’ll remember most about 2020, there’s another, positive side to the pandemic: It brought out the good in our community.

From food to toiletries to mosaics to masks, we witnessed a year of giving.

Here’s a look back at some of the inspiring people we met this year.

Air Force veteran Tony Mansolillo has worked the frontlines of the pandemic for months now.

“I go out and feed the people in the woods, and I feed the people living in their cars,” he said.

For him, cooking is a labor of love, and he shared the fruits of his labor with anyone needing a helping hand.

“I took it on as a mission.”

She wasn’t cooking, but Queen Dorrie made sure no one went hungry.

“When you’ve lived this long, you feel that you have to give of yourself.”

The 90-year-old didn’t let age stop her. She spent many days since March delivering food to seniors who normally get hot meals at the Naples Senior Center.

“I enjoy working; I enjoy delivering this,” she said.

Veteran Donald Payton also took on a new mission this year: helping other veterans.

“We give them everything you see in your house: beds, new beds, pots, pans, dishes…”

His “Hearts and Homes for Veterans” nonprofit hands out about 30,000 of those supplies each month.

For Pastor Shari Lacey, it’s all about mosaics for mental health.

“Making beauty out of this brokenness,” she said.

Helping others cope, whether it’s COVID-19 or just life.

“I get to break things, so it’s a little stress reliever,” said Amy Turner.

“Really loved breaking stuff,” said Jessica Fletcher.

Just in the stitch of time, Jacky Fischer and dozens of her neighbors fired up the sewing machines, making thousands of masks to help those in need.

“We get all the requests in from all the different hospitals and doctor’s offices, a couple of restaurants, we’ve seen them, too; we’ve even sent masks as far as Walter Reed up in Maryland, all over the place.”

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