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Navigating Life’s New Normal: Stories of Resilience During the Pandemic

The Ripple Effects of Pandemic Policies

During the pandemic, the stories of those deeply affected by COVID-19 policies have touched many, going beyond the virus’s direct impact. Individuals like Donna Tegnell experienced significant life changes, especially in their professional spheres. Initially thriving in her role with the Washington State Ferry, Donna’s career faced unexpected disruptions due to stringent pandemic-related mandates.

A Dream Job Derailed

Starting her career in 2004 as an Ordinary Seaman, Donna Tegnell worked her way up to the position of Mate through dedication and hard work, nearly reaching Captain status. Her commitment was evident as she became the face of the San Juan Visitors Bureau in a promotional campaign. However, her career trajectory took a drastic turn in 2021 when she was forced to leave her job due to her religious beliefs conflicting with new vaccine mandates imposed by Governor Inslee.

Challenges and Resilience in Adversity

The denial of Donna’s request for a religious exemption, despite her willingness to compromise by waiting for a different vaccine, resulted in the loss of her job. This situation not only affected her career but also added stress to her personal life as she cares for her husband, Jon, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy and Parkinson’s Disease. Despite these setbacks, Donna remains hopeful, fighting for her rights through union support and holding onto her faith for a better future.