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'The unsung heroes': UofL Health celebrates staff members who keep hospitals clean

Often underappreciated, EVS workers felt left out of the conversations of thanks during the pandemic. UofL Health changed that.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Often times, it's a thankless job. But this Wednesday, UofL Health spotlighted the people who work tirelessly to keep Louisville's hospitals clean.

UofL Health celebrated their Environmental Services staff members during shift change, passing out balloons and lining the halls as employees walked in and out.

"I was becoming teary eyed too," said Bill Lands, the Director of EVS at the hospital. "When you saw everyone walking down there and become...a lot of the housekeepers had tears in their eyes for what happened."

These men and women are in charge of cleaning every inch of the hospital, from lobbies to rooms, before and after the sickest people arrive — all in the midst of a highly contagious global pandemic.

"Their recognition doesn't always come out," Lands said. "They're behind the scenes, the underdog, the unsung heroes. They don't see everybody working on the patient, but they can't heal the sick without a clean room."

Iris Wise has spent the last 16 years cleaning up in an effort to keep the hospital sterile. After months of double shifts and working short-staffed, EVS employees finally thought the vaccine would provide them relief. 

"I was like, 'Oh lord thank you!  It's time to go back to regular old what we used to do!'" Wise said. "Then, here come delta. Now, we're back to everything all over different."

Through long shifts she thought she could not do, and days where she did not feel like the thanks for health care heroes was directed her way, Wise said she's recharged and ready to continue her lifesaving mission.

"It made us all feel like we were nobodies," Wise said of the work during the pandemic. "But yesterday, they showed us we are somebodies. Yes they did."

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