Everyday Heroes: Employees Brave Blizzard Conditions to Serve Patients

Members of our Pediatric Department brave the snow to care for our younger patients.

Last weekend, Winter Storm Jonas dumped a record-breaking 29+ inches of snow across the region. Despite the blizzard conditions, AAMC employees made sure to show up for their shifts, ensuring we had no interruptions in patient care. Many stayed overnight, getting shut eye whenever and wherever they could.

Not only were employees devoted to making sure our patients and families received the care they needed, but they also showed incredible support to each other. Coworkers helped each other out with rides to and from the hospital and shoveled out buried cars. Angela Reedy, RN, Flex Pool, shared how Cindy Klebe, RN, NICU, went out of her way to pick up six night-shift employees who were staying in a hotel. Because of her assistance, all six were able to arrive on time for their shifts. Kwanza Carter, RN, HVU, and Trish Seal, RN, ICU, gave rides to several employees to make sure they could get to the hospital safely. Other staff members arrived long before the starts of their shifts to ensure they could care for their patients. Some even took on additional shifts so another team member could stay home. And when cars broke down on the snow-covered roads, some employees, like Jolanda Blake, environmental attendant, walked a mile to get to the hospital.

It took Gary Cooper, environmental services, half a day to get to work, twelve-and-a-half hours to be exact. Leaving home at 3am, Gary began his long, treacherous trip. His car got stuck in the snow several times, but Gary didn’t turn around once. He arrived at the hospital at 3:30pm.

After working long hours in back-to-back shifts, Leo Colon, Security, returned to his hotel in Annapolis to sleep. Many employees slept at local hotels during the weekend to ensure they could get to the hospital. As Leo entered the lobby, he saw several labor and delivery nurses planning their return to AAMC for their shifts. Despite little sleep, he offered them a ride to the hospital and a ride back to the hotel at the end of their shifts. Later that morning, Leo saw one of those nurses, Grace Blackwell, RN, Labor and Delivery, trying to shovel her car out from the hotel parking lot. “Without missing a beat, Leo offered his help to do a job that would have taken me over an hour,” says Grace. “I was able to get home to see my kids.”

The Clatanoff Pavilion stayed busy, delivering 19 babies, including a set of twins, during the storm. On Facebook, hundreds of community members shared messages of support and thanks for our team’s dedication. “These people are true heroes! Thanks to them and to everyone at AAMC for their dedication and world-class commitment to serve,” said Facebook fan Bob Herrmann. Check out more photos from the blizzard on the AAMC Facebook page. Have an AAMC storm story you want to share? Let us know on our Facebook page.

These stories offer just a glimpse of our extraordinary employees and their dedication to our patients. Thank you to everyone who worked during the biggest blizzard ever to hit our region, from those who cleared the paths to those who prepared food in our cafeterias, to those who cared for patients. We always put our patients first, rain or shine…or 29 inches of snow.

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