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Daughter gets second job at nursing home to see 87-year-old dad amid pandemic

Lisa Racine was worried about her father, alone in a nursing home, during the coronavirus pandemic - so she picked up a job at the facility.

When the coronavirus pandemic limited access to nursing homes, Lisa Racine found herself unable to see the man she calls her "hero," her 87-year-old father.

Racine told TODAY that she was worried about dad Harold Racine's health and isolation in his Minnesota nursing home.

"Just the thought of him getting COVID and possibly dying without anybody around him that loved him — I was panicking inside," Racine told TODAY.

A few months ago, Racine found a solution: A second job. While she works full-time as a project manager at a printing company, she now also works nights and weekends scraping plates and mopping floors at her dad's nursing home.

"My dad told me many times throughout my life, 'Sometimes you’ve just got to take the bull by the horns, Lisa,'" Racine said. "And that’s what I decided to do."

Racine, who is one of eight children, said that she surprised her dad at the facility.

"I was shocked, really," Harold told TODAY. "I was dumbfounded. 'How did you get in?'"

Lisa Racine said that she quickly saw a change in her dad's attitude.

"He's got a little sparkle back in his eye that was missing," she said.

Because of her work at the facility, both father and daughter were eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, and they received it side-by-side.

The Racines were eligible to be vaccinated together because of her job in the facility.
The Racines were eligible to be vaccinated together because of her job in the facility. TODAY

"I don't feel like a hero, but I do feel like I'm showing some gratitude," Racine said.

According to NBC News affiliate KARE 11, Racine's hiring was a win-win for her and the nursing home: Facility administrator Rene Racine (who is Lisa Racine's cousin) said that nursing homes have had a hard time filling positions due to COVID-19.

"Having her reach out and wanting to come to work was an absolute godsend for us," Rene told KARE 11.

While visiting restrictions on nursing homes and other assisted living facilities are starting to lift as the coronavirus vaccine rollout continues, Lisa Racine told KARE 11 that she plans on keeping her job at the facility.

She doesn't mind a little cleaning work to see her dad. "He's cleaned up plenty of messes after me in the past," Racine told TODAY.