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Gratitude for Unsung Heroes

By John Henry Hullsiek, OLP Director of Marketing & Communications

Last Fall, as we prepared for the long winter months, we never thought in these modern times that we would experience a pandemic that would affect the way we live our lives. We go to the grocery store and the mall when we need to, and Our Lady of Peace families visited their loved ones in our care.

The day the news of COVID 19 came out, everything changed. What do we do now? How do we keep our doors open at Our Lady of Pace? How could all of the activities that define Minnesota be shut down? The next morning, we discussed how we would provide safety to our employees and patients. When we think of the frontline workers (nurses, doctors, medical staff) protecting us and guiding us through these uncharted waters of a global pandemic, how are they protected? Who is protecting them?

I read multiple articles on the effects of COVID 19, including this I found this Brookings Institution website: “frontline workers as employees within essential industries who must physically show up to their jobs. Rather than capture every worker within essential industries, we propose identifying a subset of workers in specific frontline occupations who face a variety of health risks in their workplaces. These workers may frequently be in close physical proximity to customers and colleagues or may be exposed to germs and other potentially hazardous conditions.[i]

Our Environmental and Building Service teams are the front line and backbone of Our Lady of Peace Hospice, ensuring that our building runs smoothly and is clean during the pandemic, and beyond. It is truly a team effort from laundry to housekeeping to groundskeeping.  This is a team that shows up every day and keeps our building safe and clean in the face of COVID!

Director of Maintenance Greg Deacy started as a nurse aid 29 years ago and went on to get his LPN license. After working as a nurse for five years, He now oversees the building maintenance to ensure OLP meets regulatory standards. When Covid hit, Greg and his team jumped into action, ensuring that the building is safe and comfortable for staff and patients.  When you come to our building, you will see that Greg, Juan, and Ruben all have smiles on their faces and are working hard to keep everyone safe.

Kim Perez came to Our Lady of Peace 29 years ago as a housekeeper and spent several years working nights as an aide. She is now the department manager that oversees volunteers and environment services. During the pandemic, Kim’s team has stepped it up with extra measures in cleaning rooms and laundry. Our Lady of Peace vitally relies on these people, Daniel, Deb, Denea, and Letti, who clean the floors and baseboards, curtains, mattresses, bedsheets, bathrooms, elevator buttons, and handrails.

The next time you are at Our Lady of Peace, if you get a chance, thank these unsung heroes who are keeping us safe during COVID-19 with a kind smile or a kind word. Together, we are stronger, and we need to have grace with each other in times like these.

As educated healthcare consumers who advocate for yourselves in receiving the best possible care, we encourage you to use the same tenacity when pursuing hospice information and care. And, if you choose to come through our doors, please know that we will do our very best to keep you safe.


[i] To protect frontline workers during and after COVID-19, we …. https://www.brookings.edu/research/to-protect-frontline-workers-during-and-after-covid-19-we-must-define-who-they-are/