Thursday, September 24, 2020

Person of the Week

Nacca Helps Community Stay Positive via The Good Things About East Haven


Mandy Nacca, a surgical tech at Yale and lifelong East Haven resident, recently became an administrator on The Good Things About East Haven Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Mandy Nacca

Mandy Nacca, a surgical tech at Yale and lifelong East Haven resident, recently became an administrator on The Good Things About East Haven Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of Mandy Nacca )

Like many people, Mandy Nacca has spent more time on social media since social distancing started. She not only had more time due to commitments being canceled, but she also took a break from her job as a surgical tech at Yale to get her boys started on virtual learning.

As she was scrolling Facebook, she noticed how much negativity she found on her feed. Mandy had always enjoyed The Good Things About East Haven page run by Steve DeLucia, but since COVID, she found more and more appeal in the page.

“I went to school with Steve and his wife and I’ve followed the page since it started and was always reading the posts on the page and I enjoy the historical stuff and the Where Am I? posts he’s shared,” Mandy says.

“If you look through Facebook, it’s so sad and depressing with people arguing and so much hate spewed in everyone’s words,” she adds. It’s few and far between that people are posting something positive, so that’s why I enjoy this page.”

A few weeks ago, DeLucia posted that he was looking for someone to help out as another admin on the page as it was getting busier with more people discovering the page and more people posting. Mandy saw the post and thought someone would jump at the opportunity. The next day she saw that no one had responded to the post and at the end of the day, it resurfaced in her feed.

“I had thought about it all day and when I saw it again, I was shocked there was still no reply,” she says. “I wasn’t sure how much I could help because I’m not the swiftest with technology, but for my own selfish needs, I didn’t want him to close the page.”

Mandy sent DeLucia a message that she was willing to help and he responded immediately, explaining what he needed and expectations for the page. Mandy came on board and now helps in approving guest posts as well as vetting new members to make sure they have ties to the community.

“When people have posts pending, I need to read it and make sure it’s appropriate. We keep all politics out of the page,” she says. “When anyone is applying to become a member, we sift through their page to make sure they are part of the town or grew up here and make sure it’s not someone who will cause trouble or spam the page.”

Even though her new role is taking up a little more time than she thought it would, she is enjoying it for a number of reasons. Mandy has found it interesting to work with DeLucia so many years after they graduated high school. Her favorite part, though, is being a part of what the page brings to the community.

“In high school, I never would’ve thought in a million years, we’d be working together on a project like this,” says Mandy. “It speaks to the volumes of how close of a town we are. Here we are as adults and still communicating, still seeing each other and both a part of this.

“I love that I’m satisfying something I think that is really positive,” she adds. “I’ve never been part of a page that’s all positive, especially about our town.”

While Mandy has not been involved in such a positive social media page before, in recent years, she found her calling with her career, which has resulted in many positive moments. For 12 years, she was an aesthetician at By the Sea and one of her clients inspired her to change careers.

“She had a doctorate in nursing and from the way I set up my table, she suggested I look into a surgical tech program,” says Mandy, who completed a 10-month full-time program at Eli Whitney and then did an internship at the V.A. “She encouraged me to do it for about a year and it truly is my calling.”

Mandy has worked in the main operating room at Yale for the past six years, predominantly scrubbing in on thoracic and traumatic cases. With elective surgeries having been postponed, Mandy took two weeks off to get her sons, 14-year-old Jake and 10-year-old Cru, started with virtual learning, but because she works in the main operating room, it never shuts down. Though she knows that things are ever-changing due to COVID, she not only enjoys her job, but also the bond she shares with her coworkers.

“We handle anything that comes in—gunshots, motorcycle accidents, ruptured aortas,” says Mandy, who was involved in the PTO when her boys were younger. “I love it so much and wish I had gotten into it sooner. You’re helping people on the worst day of their lives. They have no idea who you are and they don’t remember you. It’s about advocating for the patients, being able to speak up for them while they’re under anesthesia, and making sure everything is safe. Our instructor once told us that everyone on the table is your mother, father, brother, or sister and it really resonated with me and that’s how I look at it.”

Though Mandy is back at work full-time, she knows she will continue to contribute to The Good Things About East Haven Facebook page. Working at the hospital, her hours are different than DeLucia’s, who is in construction, so they are able to check in on the page at different times.

As part of the page, Mandy has seen the community come together and support each other, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has seen people and organizations sharing information, residents joining in for birthday parades to celebrate in these times of social distancing, a gentleman who drives around playing music to lift people’s spirits, and others posting to thank different people or organizations contributing to the community.

“It’s nice to see how people are helping each other out. It’s just amazing and that’s what needs to be promoted,” says Mandy. “The closeness of our town is amazing and having a community is so important. There is a unity in the town. I always felt that whether someone was in my group of friends or not, we were in the same family because we are from East Haven.”

Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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