On Monday afternoon, MercyOne North Iowa officials unveiled a 150-pound statue handmade by an artist in Zimbabwe to, as its inscription states, "serve as a reminder of all the heroic efforts displayed within these walls."
Later, that same inscription then states, "Through the darkest of times, never have our core values shined brighter."
At the start of the event, MercyOne North Iowa President & CEO Rod Schlader called the statue a "beacon of hope" and said that nurses at the hospital helped to discharge more than 1,000 patients who came in with COVID.
Kim Chamberlin, the chief nursing officer for MercyOne North Iowa, said that planners wanted a statue built from stone so that it could be an everlasting symbol of the battle that her colleagues fought.
"I have been a nurse for over 40 years and the past 14 months have been the most difficult time," she said.
After the event, nurses from MercyOne North Iowa said that they felt plenty appreciated by people in attendance before showing deference to those who helped them over the past year.
"I really liked how it’s to all colleagues because everybody pitched in," MercyOne North Iowa Critical Care Director Emily Orton said. "People from interventional radiology came to work in our supply chain to help fill the need of all the supplies. Our housekeepers worked so hard turning rooms over as we were getting so many patients in."
Sheyanne Schultz, a nurse who was named in the "100 Great Nurses of Iowa," then added to what Orton said: "Every single department was not spared."
Their colleague, Linda Latham, the women's and child services director for MercyOne North, said that she appreciates that the statue will continually remind folks of what health care professionals had to give long after the pandemic is over.
"For those who participated in it, it’s going to be with us forever," she said.
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Jared McNett covers local government for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Jared.McNett@globegazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0527. Follow Jared on Twitter at @TwoHeadedBoy98.