A bushfire crisis and a health pandemic, two unlikely events most of us only experience once in a lifetime and for Sandy Formann it's been a chance to help others.
Sandy Formann has been working for Coles for 21 years, 13 of those in the Lithgow store.
Sandy who helps manage the checkouts, does registers and the online click and collect has seen a lot in her career but these past few months were something not even she was prepared for.
"I have never seen anything like it in my life, it's been unthinkable really," she said.
When COVID-19 reared its head, the business undertook some changes to include more hygiene precautions.
"We have been doing extra cleaning, sanitising hourly, washing hands more regularly, keeping our social distance and trying to get customers to social distance, we also stopped bag packing but we have brought that back now, but it is all just precautions," she said.
Sandy said that most customers had reacted well to the changes.
"I think everyone was just scared and that made them angry, and some people just don't like change, but the majority of people have been on board and have just gone with the flow," she said.
One of the many things that Sandy enjoys about her job is seeing the regular customers and the conversations she gets to have.
"We had a lot coming in during the bushfire period and they were telling us their stories and how they had lost their homes or were fighting to protect their properties, so that was a really emotional time," she said.
"It was like we were just getting over one thing and then hit with another."
Sandy said that during the tough times, their boss really made his presence known in each and every team.
"We really came together as a team and were supporting one another, there was also a counselling line made available to anyone struggling," she said.
"I would just like to shout out the whole Coles team with everything we have gone through, everyone has supported each other and lifted one another up."
Coles manager Brook Kinsela said that Sandy was a huge asset to the business and to the Lithgow store in particular.
"We are lucky to have her here," he said.
"There are many workers I could've chosen [to be featured in the Lithgow Mercury] because the whole team really came together during the bushfires, the pandemic and then having a case in the store.
"The whole team has gone above and beyond and I am grateful to have such a hardworking team."
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