Millions of families lost loved ones, children lost parents and hospitals all around the world struggled to cope with the tsunami of COVID-19 cases. Even though the sufferings are not over yet, and healthcare workers are still working tirelessly to save lives, one of them received a medal of honor for her contribution to the Coronavirus pandemic response.

Charito Romano is a Filipina nurse who works at the Arbrook House Care Home in Esher, in the UK. She is among the hundreds of key workers and community champions who battled the pandemic and have been recognized in the New Year honors list.

She received the British Empire Medal. Daniel Pruce, the British Ambassador to the Philippines, took to Twitter to congratulate Romano. "Many congratulations to Staff Nurse Charito Romano, from the Flag of Philippines, awarded a British Empire Medal in the #NewYearsHonours for her outstanding work at Arbrook House Care Home in the UK during the #Covid19 pandemic," wrote Pruce.

Charito Romano
Charito Romano, was awarded with the British Empire Medal (BEM) Twitter

New Year Honors List

This list is published annually to recognize the achievements and services of people from across the UK. Many public sector workers, including medics, teachers, police officers, and firefighters, make up 15 percent of the list, "recognized for making a huge individual impact" in 2020.

Romano was among those hundreds of health and social workers who have been recognized in the 2020 New Year Honors list. The name of a former palliative care nurse, Cath Fitzsimmons, from Eccles, also included in the list. The 62-year-old came out of retirement when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world especially the UK to help patients. Like the Philipino nurse, Fitzsimmons has also received a British Empire Medal.

Wuhan Coronavirus
Coronavirus pandemic Twitter / Imran Iftikhar

The list also includes other people who helped NHS staff members to continue their battle during the pandemic. An airline pilot, Emma Henderson is one of them. She co-founded Project Wingman, creating "first-class lounges" in 80 UK hospitals for exhausted workers. Jennifer Sims, 76, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honors list for providing hot meals and free bags of food to vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the outstanding efforts of those who had received honors were a welcome reminder of the "strength of human spirit", and of what can be accomplished through "courage and compassion".