The COVID-19 monument and courtyard at Orlando Health — Health Central Hospital will give hospital staff a quiet place to relax.
At Orlando Health — Health Central Hospital in Ocoee, a small crowd gathered Friday, July 24, for the unveiling of a new, quiet part of the bustling hospital.
With representatives from Health Central, CEMEX USA and Edwards Concrete watching, the hospital showed off its new courtyard that sits just to the left of the hospital’s staff entrance.
“We all know how trying the last few months have been for communities and hospitals everywhere, and this community and Health Central Hospital are no exception,” Health Central COO Amy DeYoung said. “We’re thankful for our team members and physicians who work tirelessly. Day after day, they show up, they mask up, and they show the highest level of care to our patients that they deserve in this time of their need.
“This courtyard will be providing an area of respite and reflection for our team members and physicians, but it’s also going to provide a constant reminder to them as they come and go through these doors that their community acknowledged their sacrifice and their commitment,” she said.
The courtyard features patterned-white concrete as fake grass rises from open spaces, while in the center is a large, light-blue heart that acts as a symbol of love and support for health care workers, said Jenna Emerson — public affairs manager for CEMEX Florida.
“This courtyard will be providing an area of respite and reflection for our team members and physicians, but it’s also going to provide a constant reminder to them as they come and go through these doors that their community acknowledged their sacrifice and their commitment.”
— Amy DeYoung, Health Central COO
In the far corner of the small courtyard, two benches sit on opposite sides of a tree that provides shade for weary workers. At its base is a memorial plaque with the following inscription: “This courtyard is dedicated to the frontline healthcare workers who went above and beyond during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. In appreciation for your extraordinary service, loyalty and commitment to your profession and community.”
Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson said he was pleased to see the hospital construct a respite for its staff.
“This is super,” he said. “This is a great place to come out and sit and think about things when you’ve gotten yourself worn out during the day, and I think it’s a benefit to the hospital.”
The courtyard is CEMEX Florida’s latest means of honoring health care workers, which started at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Emerson said.
The company had lit up its silos in blue lights but felt the need to do something more meaningful. That’s when a coworker of Emerson’s mentioned the idea of doing a blue heart in concrete at a hospital.
CEMEX partnered with Edward’s Concrete Company and Bruns Inc., which completed the courtyard’s design. Along with the design, local organizations in the community donated other items such as the two benches and railing.
All the work was accomplished behind barrier walls, so the months of curiosity regarding the construction added to the special moment on Friday morning, Emerson said.
“That was kind of cool, too, that we got to keep it hidden with the big walls, because it meant so much more to do that unveiling to get all of those feelings in one hour,” Emerson said. “I think a lot of us needed it — even outside of the health care workers — because it’s such a feel-good (moment).”