22:43 PM

From Health Care Preparedness to Chicken Coops

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Miles City, MT - Since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic in January 2020, many Americans have seen a drastic change to their way of life. From the closing of businesses or your favorite restaurants, to distancing from your friends and loved ones, we have all been affected in some way.

For Rob Brugger, Holy Rosary’s Director of Therapy Services, he has used this adjustment period to further appreciate the time he has with his family and focus even more on his work to prepare eastern Montana for a response against COVID-19.

Brugger has been with Holy Rosary Healthcare for nearly 21 years and now oversees Speech Therapy, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Echocardiology, Respiratory Therapy, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy and the Healthy Lifestyles program for diabetes prevention. He is also on Holy Rosary’s senior leadership team and Foundation board, where he helps the ministry achieve long-term growth goals and develop relationships within the community.

Additionally, Brugger is part of Holy Rosary’s Incident Management team, where he helps formulate logistics plans for the pandemic.

“I am incredibly humbled and in awe to work side by side with other leaders in preparing for what could be someone’s worst day,” he said. “We are doing everything in our power to make sure that we are prepared and able to provide the highest level of care to our community if and when a case of COVID-19 presents itself.”

Over the past several months, Rob has had to make adjustments to his work and personal life to find a balance and maintain his mental and physical health.

“Every aspect of my life has changed,” said Brugger. “We all want to do so much, but this virus has turned it upside down and changed how we work each day. Yet through all of this, I still feel so blessed because I am healthy, my family is healthy and I am able to provide for them and pay the bills.”

Brugger’s wife, Jenille, is also a full-time associate at Holy Rosary, where she is a registered nurse in Residential Living. After a busy work day, Rob and Jenille arrive home, where they homeschool their three children, as the educational system has shifted to strictly at-home learning.

“I feel for the teachers during this time because it’s impossible to plan for this,” Rob said. “I didn’t think that I would be teaching my children how to do math, reading and book reports each night, but Jenille and I value education and this time with our kids.”

Brugger mentioned that it has been his mission to find an emotional release during this unprecedented time, so he and his family have found a niche together and found a way to get outside safely.

As a former carpenter and roofer, Brugger naturally has a desire to build. When he heard that Miles City offers a community ordinance where residents are allowed to own up to six chickens, he and his family began building a chicken coop in their backyard.

“Oddly, I don’t know how to build things cheaply, that are still quality,” Brugger joked. “This chicken coop may end up being the most expensive chicken coop in Miles City.”

Rob noted that he hopes that once COVID-19 passes that the community will grow even stronger because of it.

“We’re going to look back at this one day and remember what was considered the normal during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “During all the craziness and stress of this pandemic, spending time with my family and kids has truly been beautiful. That is my silver lining during such an unpredictable time.”

The Brugger family has dedicated their lives to the greater health care of eastern Montana and has found a method to stay positive and healthy along the way. From health care preparedness to chicken coops, they have truly found a balance during an unbalanced time.

“You have to find good mental health outlets during such a straining time,” he said. “Building a chicken coop is the outlet that works the best for our family and I am so grateful to do this with the ones that I love.”

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.