New year, new baby

2021’s first baby born on New Year’s Day

Jan. 5, 2021 — The first new Florence resident of 2021 made her appearance at 9:12 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1, at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center.

ElizabethAnn Hope Vasquez was born healthy and happy to first time parents, and recent area arrivals Tracy and Eugene Vasquez, who married in March 2020. The couple moved here almost a year ago and despite facing a number of significant obstacles have started to make a home in Florence.

“Jan. 28 marks our one-year anniversary of being Oregonians,” Eugene said. “We literally drove 8,000 miles before finding our new permanent hometown in Florence. When we first came to this beautiful state of Oregon, we started out living in a minivan, with nothing but a good attitude and hope for a better future. So here we are, in Florence, living out our dream, making ends meet. Together we built a life that we love.”

In addition, the small family was able to use community resources, such as SOS and Helping Hands, to aid in their transition to living here permanently. 

That transition has been made significantly more difficult with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols put in place to suppress the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

The pandemic has made nearly every aspect of trying to settle in a new community very challenging, according to the Vasquez’s.

“COVID kept trying to get the best of us and made finding and keeping work difficult. We refused to let that stop us from trying to start a family. 

We had an idea to purchase a Coach, to keep us mobile, until we found a home base to stay permanently,” Eugene said, adding that he has now fortunately found full time work as the head cook at Krispy Krunchy Chicken off the Highway 101 .

There were also some issues surrounding the birth of the new baby, which were addressed by the staff at Peace Harbor.

“The medical staff at Peace Health Women’s Clinic were quick to accommodate us for C-section delivery so that we could stay here, and Eugene could keep his job,” Tracy said. “We got in just in time, as baby ElizabethAnn was scheduled for a C-section Jan. 7 and decided to come early on Jan. 1.”

It was a delightful New Year addition to the family.

“The entire staff at the hospital were very friendly and helpful in receiving us. Everything worked out just fine,” the Vasquez’s said. “Words cannot express how much love we received in the Labor and Delivery department and from all the staff there at the hospital. 

“We want to thank everyone in the community as well.”