CALDWELL, Idaho — The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health care workers to their limits, inspiring the West Valley Medical Center to turn those hardships into something beautiful.
On Monday, the West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell unveiled a new 3D art piece at a ceremony honoring staff for their efforts over the last two years of pandemic response.
Local artist Lorrie Byerly created the sculpture by piecing together broken glass left over from West Valley Medical's 'Break COVID' event in Fall 2021. During the Break COVID event, West Valley staff threw glass plates, cups and items at a cartoon coronavirus painted on a wall outside the hospital.
Sara Moody, a medical case manager at WVMC, said the Break COVID event was a much-needed activity for all center employees.
"It didn't matter what role you play in the hospital — everyone plays a role in taking care of our patients," Moody said on Monday. "It was just great to all be together and get that frustration out."
Byerly represented togetherness through the mosaic piece, which depicted a circle of multicolored hands and inspirational sayings.
Director of marketing and public relations Kaycee Emery said the sculpture also marks West Valley's shift toward the future and a "new era of hope."
"I hope it shows them that you can turn broken into beautiful," Emery said. "We did have a tough few years with COVID, but we can learn some things and get through things together from that."
Seeing the art piece on Monday was an emotional experience for West Valley's Director of Environmental Services, Carlos Vazquez.
"It makes you think back about some of the memories, some of the people we have lost, and the people who struggled," Vazquez said. "We even lost employees, luckily not to COVID but from the stress of COVID. So, to think about all those different struggles and challenges put a lot of emotion into it."