DPhiE on the Frontline

Sister Abby Dobrinick (Gamma Alpha, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville) has spent this year working as a nurse on the frontlines of the pandemic. Prior to COVID -19, Abby would move around to different areas of focus at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. She would find out day by day which area needed her support the most. Since March, Abby has spent the majority of her time working in the COVID unit.

When asked what her high point of the year was, Abby shared “It would be the small moments. The extra Facetimes with my family, the excessive takeout and movie watching with my fiance and the happy you feel when you finally see your family.” As someone that prides herself on being a homebody, she realized even more so the importance of family. Her low point of the year was the unthinkable amount of death. She shared, “It’s the most I’ve ever seen in my entire career. With patients’ families unable to hold their hand or give them one last hug, we are the ones Facetiming those families and hearing their last words. Our hearts are breaking and we are holding back so many tears behind those masks and face shields.”

Abby has relied on her DPhiE sisters as a strong support system this year. She shared, “DPhiE gave me lifelong friends. Many of them are the ones I call and text after a long day.” She also has enjoyed following along with her chapter, Gamma Alpha, this year. Seeing how they adapted and made the best of the situation this year. “I love to see that they are still recruiting, raising money for our philanthropies and loving each other in sisterhood despite the challenges.”

For any sisters considering to go into the healthcare field, Abby encourages you to DO IT! “This job might be stressful, but it is so rewarding! Find your support system, hospital you love and a great team and you won’t regret it. This year has been hard but with the right people by your side, it makes everything ok.”

Abby received the COVID vaccine this week and is feeling well. She urges sisters to trust the hospitals and doctors, “We have to continue to persevere through this together. The vaccine is a turning point but it’s going to take time to get back to normal. It is a light in a very dark world. I encourage everyone to do their research, stay informed, get the vaccine, wear a mask, wash your hands and be kind to one another.” Keep our healthcare workers in your thoughts and do your part! We are so thankful for the work Abby is doing to serve her community.

Abby Dobrinick is an alumna member of the Gamma Alpha chapter at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. She is currently a nurse working at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. 

How Do You Celebrate the Holidays?

Holidays this year may look and feel different. We wanted to take a step back and reflect on the different traditions that make your celebrations unique. If you are interested in sharing your stories, please email communications@dphie.org. We want to highlight cultures, religions and backgrounds throughout the year to show that everyone has a place to belong in Delta Phi Epsilon. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Rose Chaikin, Delta Iota

There are always three menorah lit every Channukah in my household. My father, brother, and I all light our own each night of the holiday, reciting the brachos (blessings) on the candles in song. My mother is there as well, of course. In past years we have had group family celebrations where we get together with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and their families, lighting all together and playing family games. But this year, it’s just the four of us, plus my kitten. On the first night, we exchanged gifts and ate potato latkes (pancakes). Although some of the traditions are cheesy, like having dreidel (spinning tops) competitions for jelly beans or eating donuts, the fact that we are doing it as a family makes it extremely special.

Molly McCabe, Alpha Rho

Christmas traditions are what make the holiday season special to my family and I. One activity in particular that I find most magical is the annual holiday theater performance my grandparents take all the cousins to. We all dress up nice and enjoy a Christmas themed musical or play such as The Nutcracker or A Christmas Story at the local theater in my hometown. One year we actually went into the city to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! This time spent with my family is so important to me. To get to experience this treat each year with the ones I love makes me extremely grateful to have such an amazing family. The music and laughs we all get to share make the holidays special and it’s something we all look forward to! This year we may not be able to get together and enjoy a show due to Covid-19 but hopefully the tradition can continue with time.

Michelle Hartz, Gamma Psi
Queen City Alumnae Association
Yule & Christmas

Reclaiming my ancestral Germanic/Anglo-Saxon Pagan traditions is easy in December.  Almost all American Christmas traditions have Pagan origins.  I begin right after Thanksgiving, gathering a fresh Yule tree & wreath, a couple new ornaments, candles, and other indoor/outdoor decor.  After the initial decorating, I continue to add natural elements to my Yule alter and tree, until Winter Solstice.  For 3 days, starting on the 21st this year, I light red, yellow, and green candles, on my Yule log, to welcome the changing of the season, with the return of the sun.  On the 24th, I celebrate Mōdraniht (Night of the Mothers) and Christmas Eve with food, drink, gifts, and tributes to the mothers in my life.  Christmas Day is celebrated with the completion of the Advent calendar, giving presents, eating, drinking, and family time.  I like to make desserts for special occasions, so I will be attempting to make a Yule log cake this year.  Wish me luck!

Lori Allen, Epsilon Xi

Christmas starts with all the prep. Normally, my family goes to fun events leading up the big day. The tree and decorations start going up on Thanksgiving night! Our tree is filled with ornaments, mostly glass and some that are 50 plus years old. We have 25 years of ornaments from the Milwaukee Athletes against Childhood Cancer charity, those are some of my favorites. The Christmas Mart was the special trip last year to make the season happy and bright. Hot Chocolate, shopping and loved ones – what could be better? Christmas Eve is dinner and Church at 10PM. Silent Night, which is always a tear jerker, has special meaning. We come home and open gifts with our immediate family in front of our tree. Christmas morning we are off to “Gma and Gpa’s” for coffee cake and polish sausage for breakfast. We hang out until dinner that is always kicked off with Christmas Crackers. What a Bang! Next is a show stopping dessert. Last year, my youngest daughter and I made a cake that exploded with sprinkles when you cut it. (This year is going to be homemade chocolate bombs filled with homemade vanilla ice cream. They will be opened by pouring lit-rum on to the top of then so the top melts. Please don’t tell!)  Once everything is cleaned up it will be present time. We go around in circles to open presents so everyone can see what was given. What a fun filled season filled with the light of Christ and a heart overflowing with love. So excited to have our daughters home with their men! Wishing you a joyful holiday no matter what you celebrate!