We know how valued Filipino nurses are, here in the UK. But some of our kababayan in the caring profession get extra recognition. Like nurse Minnie Klepacz.
A British Empire Medal has been awarded to Filipina nurse Minnie Klepacz last month for her work in the Covid-19 pandemic. Minnie is a matron at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Dorset where she has worked for 18 years. She is among the 414 individuals awarded the British Empire Medal in this year’s honours list.
According to a hospital spokesperson, “Minnie was honoured for her tireless work to support her colleagues and community during Covid-19, and said she feels ‘truly humbled’ to be recognised.”
Minnie Klepacz leads the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) network and is acknowledged for her role in the local NHS Trust’s provision of risk assessment for the BAME staff and in creating a wellbeing hub for her staff. Minnie is the hospital’s matron for ophthalmology.
Minnie’s initiative was not confined to her official role at work. She has also actively supported Filipino colleagues and other members of the community who needed assistance. She cooked meals for those who fell ill, helped others move house and organised virtual events, which was all aimed at providing both moral and hands-on support.
Minnie relates how she came to know about her surprise award. “When I saw an email from the Cabinet Office, I was so worried and thought I’d done something wrong. I plucked up the courage to read it again and responded asking if it was a spam email because I just couldn’t believe it. They told me it was true and then rang me to reassure me, I couldn’t believe it.”
Minnie goes on to say who she would like to share the award with. “This award is not just for me, it’s for everyone who works here and goes above and beyond. As a Filipino, I’d also like to share this award with all staff from a BAME background. I’m truly humbled to work with amazing colleagues. They inspire me and give me confidence.”
In response to the recognition of the role she played as a frontline worker in the Covid outbreak, Minnie says, “Covid was really challenging, and most hospital staff affected by it came from a BAME background. I had my own worries, but I had to put that aside and think, how can I support people, what act of kindness and humanity can I provide. If people need help, then I’ll help them.”
Minnie Klepacz tells us where her British Empire Medal belongs. “I’m going to send my medal home to the Philippines. Growing up, my mum always used to display all our awards prominently in the lounge as she was so proud of us all. As I can’t visit my family right now, it’s only right they have my medal.”
Congratulations, Minnie Klepacz! You are an amazing Pinoy!