Several organizations team us to feed EAMC-Lanier

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

VALLEY — In normal times, EAMC-Lanier Hospital is a busy place. The hallways are typically alive with activity as the hospital staff is busy with their daily duties.

These are not normal times, and the interior of the hospital is anything but normal. While the multi-floor East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika has become a regional treatment center for those infected by COVID-19, EAMC-Lanier has been taking on conventional illnesses and routine medical problems to make more room for the hospital to treat the highly contagious coronavirus. There are no visitors allowed in either hospital, and there’s a growing sense of isolation on the part of hospital workers who are on the front line in this fight against a deadly disease.

Hospital workers sometimes put in long hours under trying circumstances to go to another isolated place — their home. With sheltering in place orders in effect in both Alabama and Georgia, there’s little socializing with friends and extended family.

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“Without visitors, we are somewhat isolated here at the hospital,” EAMC-Lanier Administrator Greg Nichols told The Valley Times-News on Monday. “When they go home there’s another kind of isolation in following the stay-at-home protocols.”

Nichols said that what does mean a lot to everyone at EAMC-Lanier are the expressions of support coming in from the community. Gestures of support such as the “Heroes Work Here” sign at the top of the hill, the “You Are Special!” balloons one sees tied down near the hospital entrance, and the meals that are being sent almost daily from a grateful community.

“There’s been an outpouring of support on the part of the community, and it means so much to us,” Nichols said.

During the noon hour on Monday, Carolyn Lott CPA, the West Point Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club of Valley each brought boxed lunches to the hospital staff. Over the weekend, Little Caesar’s brought pizzas and McDonalds donated 180 hamburger patties, buns and condiments.

“My husband, Steve, and I grilled them outside the hospital,” said Cindy Brooks, EAMC-Lanier’s director of business development and occupational health and wellness. “We were able to treat all the employees of the hospital plus the paramedics from Lanett and Valley.”

On Tuesday, the hospital’s day shift will be getting lunch from Pokey’s in West Point, courtesy of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, and on Wednesday, the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) will be providing meals for both the day and night shifts. Later on, the CCDA will be treating all shifts plus the housekeeping department.

Nichols said the ongoing fight against the coronavirus is very hard but that support being given by the local community is lifting spirits.

“It definitely improves our morale to know that so many people in the local community are showing their support for us right now,” he said.