Let’s take a moment to thank and to be grateful for health care workers who serve on the front-line confronting coronavirus, and to remember health care workers who stood on another front line 100 years ago when the influenza pandemic ravaged society. In the fall of 1918, the third wave of that pandemic hit Port Washington harder than any other town in North Hempstead, and the community set up a temporary isolation hospital in Barker’s Point.
Mable Guest was a professional nurse who lived in Freeport. In the tradition of her military family that dated back to the Revolutionary War, she volunteered to serve in WW1 in the U.S. Army Nurses Core. But first, she was needed on the home front, and was assigned to be the head nurse at our isolation hospital. Sadly, within four weeks, she was diagnosed with influenza. That led to pneumonia, and that took her life. She died on Oct. 30, 1918 at the age of 26 on the day she was scheduled to go to France. The threat of infectious disease has always been with us. Fortunately, individuals with the courage to meet that threat head-on have been with us as well. Let’s not forget them.
—Submitted by the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society