In the early days of COVID-19 in the U.S., when personal protective equipment (PPE) was in limited supply, associates at Centura Health began creating hospital gowns and other items to help colleagues stay protected.
Nurse Janet Caldwell at Centura Health - Porter Adventist Hospital stepped in to help that effort, not knowing someone she knows very well would be helping too – while working in a very different industry.
“We were talking about our days at work at one point and realized that both of us were making gowns - I didn’t realize he would be making them too!”
Janet’s husband, Ryan, doesn’t work at the hospital or even in health care. He’s an employee at Lockheed Martin, the defense and aerospace company with a large presence southwest of Denver.
“We started talking about how we’re in two different industries and we never thought we’d work together at all,” Janet said. “Our companies have changed and adapted, and we are truly working together now to help supply things we need to stay safe.”
This spring, Lockheed created 10,000 gowns and 5,000 face shields for hospitals in Colorado alone. Some of those were created at the hands of Ryan Caldwell.
“A listing on the internal website appeared and I thought, ‘I can do that! What a great opportunity to help out the community and front line nurses like my wife.’ I didn't even know the gowns were going to Centura!”
Ryan said it means a lot to be able to directly help his wife and her colleagues on the front lines.
“It feels awesome to fabricate something that helps keep her safe. I love her, I want her protected, and if I can help I will! Every day she leaves for a shift I say "Be careful, please"; and now I know she has some of the gowns that my friends and I made to make that possible.”
Janet recalled: “As my spouse he pledged to take care of me in every way possible, we had all the traditional vows at our wedding, and now to know how seriously he takes that in his job means a lot.
“I look at my husband differently now. You are the provider that you’d said you’d be in every aspect of the word.”
Centura Health is grateful for the neighborly support from Lockheed and its employees, and so are the Caldwells.
“To have a company to stop some of what they’re doing to reach out and work in a community where they serve – and to bring that idea of defense to a personal level, it makes my heart happy,” Janet said.
Ryan agrees. “Lockheed Martin cares about the community and protecting those who put their lives on the line. It's great to work for a company that has dedicated resources toward efforts that benefit so many people both in the surrounding community.”
As for her safety, Ryan said he does worry but knows she’s living her mission.
“While the possibility of her contracting the virus weighs heavy in the back of my mind, I know helping others is not just what she does, but who she is. Although each shift is draining physically and emotionally, she leaves the house ready to take on whatever comes through the doors - lending her heart and expertise to those who might be having the worst day of their lives. That's pretty dedicated if you ask me!”