Stories from the Frontlines

Stories from the Frontlines
February 18, 2021 Memorial Hospital

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for frontline workers at hospitals around the world. But at Memorial Hospital, this experience has brought staff closer together.

Chief Nursing Officer Raigan Brown says during the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial staff exhibited the best example of teamwork that she has ever witnessed. Everyone worked in unity, with staff picking up extra hours and shifts outside their departments. Raigan recalls that the Memorial Hospital CEO Ada Bair was spotted cleaning patient rooms and one provider created a sleeping area so she could be at the hospital for her patients all the time.

From a caregiver perspective, Raigan says working the frontlines during the pandemic was tremendously difficult. Patients battling COVID-19 would take one step forward then two steps back, day after day. “We call it the COVID-19 rollercoaster,” explains Raigan.

The pandemic also took an emotional toll on staff as nurses would become attached to their patients. However, this emotional attachment made it all the more exciting when patients were able to go home after defeating the virus.

If hospital staff had the opportunity, they would line the halls and whoop and holler when patients left to go home. “There is nothing better than seeing a patient who was deathly ill get to go home!” says Raigan.

Everyone, including staff and community members, rallied together to show their support for frontline workers. Raigan recalled how non-clinical staff would bring in treats and gifts to show their appreciation. Community members showed their support too, by making homemade masks, sending gifts and treats, donating money, and more. “We are so very thankful. It always brought smiles!” says Raigan of the support frontline workers received.

Thank You

Memorial Hospital Supports Staff With Hero Pay

COVID has been tough, but Memorial Hospital, Clinics and Hancock Village employees have proved to be stronger.  As a Five Star critical care hospital in Carthage, IL, our mission was to treat team members at the highest standards while fighting the pandemic over the last year.

While other organizations were laying employees off due to low census, Memorial decided to cross train our very flexible staff into additional roles to benefit the organization. As the necessity for staff became greater, and the day to day more draining, we offered “Hero pay” and gift cards to say, “thank you” for keeping our patients needs top of mind.

Not only did we monetarily provide a benefit for our entire organization of over three hundred employees, we also implemented a variety of incentives and assistance programs in order to support staff throughout the stress and difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.  This extra support for employees has included weekly prizes and giveaways, eight weeks of free lunches, and free counseling opportunities for staff.

Andrea Keene, Chief Human Resources Officer at Memorial Hospital and Hancock Village, states, “Today’s healthcare personnel are braving incredible risks and are consistently going above and beyond to protect our patients. It’s no exaggeration to call their efforts heroic. While we cannot relieve our staff from the stresses of the day, we can honor their sacrifices. We are proud to be able to offer staff hero pay as a way of saying thank you. We are also keenly aware that our local community will reap the reward of our team receiving additional financial support for their efforts. This extra help can allow our team to continue to support both themselves and local businesses.”

Memorial Hospital Foundation has also played an integral role in providing support to staff.  The foundation launched the “Caring Back Club” and has worked tirelessly to provide weekly treats and encouragement. The Caring Back Club has also engaged the community and has helped to coordinate countless donations from community groups, organizations, and individuals to provide support for the team.

Memorial Hospital would like to sincerely thank their team for continuing to offer their time and talents in any way possible throughout the challenges that COVID-19 has brought. To learn more about employment opportunities available at Memorial Hospital, visit or call (217) 357-8561.
Thank You

Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Caring Back Club

Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Executive Director, Greta Wetzel, is always looking towards and planning for the future. However, in mid-March, the future began to look drastically different for all, due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Greta and her team suddenly found themselves switching gears, from planning a large gala fundraising event, to simply finding ways to support their healthcare team during this stressful time.

In an effort to support the team as much as possible, Memorial Hospital Foundation created the “Caring Back Club”. The purpose of the Caring Back Club was to provide Memorial Hospital, Memorial Medical Clinics, and Hancock Village staff and residents with a weekly treat, to remind the team that they were supported during this unprecedented time. The Caring Back Club, however, continued to grow and flourish into something much greater, thanks to the hard work and generosity shown by Greta and her team, staff and residents, local businesses, and community members.

Citizens and local business have donated a variety of items to the Caring Back Club, including homemade cookies donated by a local caterer, fudge made and donated by Ada Bair, CEO of Memorial Hospital and Hancock Village, homemade cards made by a community member, bouquets of flowers donated to Hancock Village residents by Montebello Gardens and various other donors, and much more.

Dilly Bars were also donated to Memorial Hospital and Hancock Village staff and residents by Carthage Dairy Queen. Joel Neally, Owner of Carthage Dairy Queen, states, “I am so appreciative of all of the frontline healthcare workers and all they are doing to help make our lives better. I wanted to give them something to show appreciation and help brighten their day.  Hopefully with this extra treat, they had a Dilly of a day!”

Many generous community members have also donated their time, talents, and resources to make homemade cloth masks and masks extenders for staff. Others have charitably donated monetary gifts. One of the Caring Back Club’s most recent donations came from Carthage Hardee’s Restaurant, who donated 100 brand new sandwich boxes that staff will utilize as a safe storage space for N95 masks. Thanks to Keokuk Hy-Vee and other generous donors, the Caring Back Club will also be able to provide donuts for all staff members and Hancock Village residents.

“We continue to thank our donors who are providing financial support during this difficult time. We also sincerely thank all of the individuals and businesses who have donated items to the Caring Back Club, as well as those who have donated their time and energy in order to support our team. Memorial Hospital Foundation will continue to work with staff, residents, and volunteers. We also look forward to providing support for Hancock County citizens in any way possible,” says Greta Wetzel, Executive Director – Memorial Hospital Foundation.

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