Creating Community

photo credit: Downtown Iron Mountain
Power of Words Project Community Mural

Creating Community – this has been a main pillar of the CWRK Collective mission and vision since its founding in 2017.

During this time of social distancing and uncertainty, the sense of community might feel distant, not just as CWRK Collective but throughout Dickinson County.

Throughout the Safe Stay, Stay Home orders, this space will be used to highlight Essential Workers within our community.

The goal is to put faces and stories to the “Essential Worker” so you can think of these people.

These are the people that need to go to work to make a better community for all of us.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured, please email

Welcome Back!

We begin our initial reopening today – June 4, 2020. We have immediate availability for daily and weekly private offices. Please contact us – – to reserve your space.

Visit for our preparedness and response plan as well as our health screening policy and safety measures.


Essential Worker Spotlight – Samantha Smaniotti

I prepare the operating room for surgery by making sure all the supplies the surgeon will need are readily available, by checking for proper sterility of the instruments, and assisting the surgeon during the procedure.

Due to COVID-19, all elective/non-emergent surgeries are no longer taking place. Because of this, work in our department has been very limited the past month.

We continue to be there for the patients who require immediate care, such as moms requiring C-Sections, patients with severe fractures, and any other patients with life threatening conditions.

There are many non-life-threatening health conditions that require surgery to alleviate pain and to get diagnostic results. These patients are not able to have these procedures until the safety restrictions are lifted.

In order to get back to doing surgery at the caseload we are used to, we ask the community to do their part in preventing the spread of COVID by staying home and practicing social distancing when they need to make essential trips.

Samantha Smaniotti

Samantha Smaniotti is a certified surgical technologist at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital.

Essential Worker Spotlight – Carol Pilot

My favorite part of my job is hearing our Veterans’ stories. Our Veterans have to best stories and love to share them.  They love to share what they did in the Service and about their families.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been moved to 4 East where I provide daily inpatient care. It is different from my normal day-to-day in the surgical clinic, but I am learning many new skills.

In addition, providing daily care, passing meds, I have the opportunity to take patients for walks and visit with them. A new opportunity to having more time listen to their stories.

Prior to COVID-19, I worked days in the surgical clinical. I now work the PM shift.  My husband and I have a farm where we raise livestock. I take the AM chore shift now and he does the PM shift.

Take care of your parents and grandparents, keep them safe, check on them. (Of course using social distancing)  – encourage social distancing. If you can do so safely, grocery shop and pick up medications for them. They are our most vulnerable during this time.

Carol Pilot

Carol Pilot is an LPN in the Surgery Clinic & Endoscopy at the VA.

Essential Worker Spotlight – Brynn Santoni

We image people for a variety of maladies every day. Our department works closely with all areas of the hospital, especially the Emergency Department, in diagnosing illness and injury. We are especially good a diagnosing ailments of the lungs, so I am being inundated with literature on COVID-19.

The biggest change is missing family dinner on Sundays, and not being able to see friends and family.

Immediately showering before I can give my kids a hug has been a challenge as well. Slowing down, especially when it comes to extra-curricular activities is very strange. Balancing a full time job and trying to make sure online learning lessons are complete and the house is tidy is honestly making the weeks fly by for me.

The hospital has finally been able to provide scrubs for us, so I am not having to strip in my garage anymore when I get home; that’s one big positive change in the last two weeks. I also make sure to check my temperature, even on my days off.

The day-to-day of my job has changed pretty drastically. We are accustomed to serving 25-40 patients a day, with the restrictions in place, we see much less than that most days (some days we still run all day). We have filled our time being ready for the “surge”. There are constantly new protocols and updates to learn. The leadership at DCH is doing their best to ensure that we are prepared to serve our family and friends in this area!

Wash your hands!

Brynn Santoni

Brynn Santoni is the section head of the CT Department at DCH.

Essential Worker Spotlight – Christyl Swanson

Our veterans are an amazing group. I’m so proud to be a part of their healthcare. It is difficult for me to not shake our veterans’ hands and thank them for their service, something I tried to do with every veteran I came in contact with or even give them a hug when they need it!

My role in healthcare has changed drastically. We have closed our surgery department and I have been reassigned to the Urgent Care. I now work the afternoon shift and also do weekends, which is a big change from my normal Monday – Friday. My new schedule has definitely changed my family dynamics.

I have learned many new skills to make myself more beneficial in the urgent care vs the surgical department.

In surgery we do elective surgery and endoscopes but in urgent care I am seeing veterans in a little more vulnerable position.

My motto in taking care of them has remained the same “treat every veteran and family member the same way I would want my loved ones taken care of” and that has made the change for me easier!

My biggest request to the public is Stay Home!! We have been able to keep our local hospitals relatively quiet, which is good.  We are a small community with limited resources we ALL need to be smart and follow the guidelines the CDC has set for us. People may not like the guidelines, but I promise you they will like the alternative even less.

I understand missing your family, I now drop items off to my parents on their front porch and haven’t seen my daughter or granddaughter in a month. They only live a few blocks from me, but I know that is what is safest for them and our community.

Christyl Swanson

Christyl Swanson is a surgical tech at the VA in Iron Mountain