The world has come to halt, but for many, the show must go on.
The heroes of the front lines have been doctors, nurses, first responders and everyone in between risking their lives to save ours. Other non-medical workers have also been essential to the well-being of millions across the globe. Teachers, food service workers, and so many more have stepped up to face this crisis with one brave face.
We are forever indebted to the heroes that have been at the forefront during these unprecedented times. Get to know a few of our St. Thomas University alumni that double as heroes.
Facundo Torino ’14
While he was at St. Thomas University, Facundo was a Head Resident Assistant and was on the Men’s soccer team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Today, he is a Criminalist in the Forensic Services Bureau of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
As a criminalist, Facundo, processes evidence from crime scenes around the Miami-Dade county area in an effort to obtain and analyze DNA profiles.
When asked what he felt was the most important thing about his job during these unprecedented times, Facundo responded,”Working through this time is giving the people of Miami-Dade County the peace of mind that crimes are still being investigated. Being a victim of a crime, any crime, can be the worst moment of anyone’s life and I am happy to continue doing my part to contribute to justice.”
As millions of Americans file for unemployment benefits, Facundo is appreciative of the security of his job.
He said, “I did not have to think about how I would pay my bills or feed my family. My job was never at risk, which is something I’ll never take for granted.”
Rosa Viera ’13
This double Bobcat earned her bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and her master’s in Management from St. Thomas University. She was part of the women’s volleyball team and is now a Detective for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Not only has Rosa been fulfilling her duties investigating property crimes that include fraud, auto thefts, grand theft and burglaries, she has also been helping give food away to those in need every week.
Her silver lining while being on the front lines of COVID-19 has been her community.
“I have learned to appreciate family time, and love seeing the community interact more and come together with celebrating any occasion with the drive-by parades.”
Carley Di Stasio ’15
At STU, you could catch Carley playing softball and cheering on STU Bobcats. Now, you can find her cheering on our communities four-legged family members.
As a veterinarian, Carley has continued to provide care for her patients, especially patients with emergent cases, as we continue navigate our present global crisis.
Navigating the pandemic has allowed Carley to have a newfound appreciation for her staff.
“I have always appreciated our technicians and staff, but this crisis has made me appreciate their hard work even more. Protocols during the pandemic are constantly changing, and our technicians are always willing to be flexible and accommodating.”
Rhiannon Torino ’15
Like St. Thomas University, schools across the country switched to online learning to align with social distancing mandates. Just as students have had to adjust to virtual learning, educators have had to get creative with teaching their curriculum in an engaging way from a distance.
STU alumna, Rhiannon Torino, stepped up to the plate for her middle school students. As a biological sciences teacher, she believes her job is to help her students achieve academic development as well as social growth.
“The continuation of education is important, but it’s just as important for me to be there for my students. Not everyone has the same home life, for some, being able to communicate with me is the only happy interaction they have that day.”
During these unprecedented times, Rhiannon has found solace in being able to provide her students with a safe haven and a has also found a new appreciation for her career.
“I have always been appreciative of having a job, but more now than ever I am happy to be in an essential career.”
Rachelle Coicou Moore ’13
Currently stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, Rachelle serves as a Forward Logistics Element(FLE) and Officer in Charge(OIC) for the U.S. Army.
Rachelle is responsible for coordinating, synchronizing, and managing maintenance and logistical functions to manage fleet and operational requirements.
As Rachelle navigates this crisis far from home, she is thankful for the opportunity to build a strong connection with her soldiers.
“This is a humbling experience because it shows us how fragile life is and how we can work together to better the systems in place. It is our grit, tenacity and determination, in the midst of these uncertainties, that forge connections that will last a lifetime.”
When asked what she appreciates most during times of crisis Rachelle responded, “The power of having a strong circle. I couldn’t imagine going through this deployment without the unconditional support and love of my husband, my family and my friends.”
Christine A. Rivera ’16
Christine earned her bachelor’s in Elementary Education at St. Thomas University and went on to become a Child Protective Specialist for the Division of Child Protection in New York City.
As social distancing mandates have constrained children to potentially dangerous home-life situations, Christine continues to do her part by investigating allegations of abuse and neglect and forming partnerships with family and community resources to ensure the safety and well-being of children in her community.
Below is a prayer Christine shared for essential workers.
“God, at this time we pray that you bless all essential workers from maintenance, grocery store owners, health care professionals to police and Child service workers and everyone in-between. I pray as each essential worker goes out, that you are there with them laying your hands on them to protect them in these times as they provide services and care to families. May they be blessed to return home to their own families. Bless us all to be strong now, as things will get better.”