She calls them unsung heroes.
Frederick, Md (KM) They’re the people who keep Frederick County Government operating even during the COVID-19 pandemic. County Executive Jan Gardner honored those employees last week during her public information briefing, calling them unsung heroes.
They included Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management staff who designed and built a machine to decontaminate N-95 masks used by physicians and nurse so they can be used again. “This group of employees used the same ultraviolet light technology that is used to decontaminated drinking water and waste water, and applied that technology to N-95 masks, allowing masks to be safely decontaminated and used multiple times,” Gardner says.
Normally, these masks are discarded after one use. There was a shortage of these masks during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, and many health care professionals had to re-use them.
The DSWUM employees being recognized are Superintendent Brad Nee, Assistant Superintendent Jim Smith, Electronic Instrumentation Technician III Philip Kersher, Electrical Maintenance Technician IV Joshua Shafer, and Electrical Maintenance Technicians II Colin Allnut, and Wyatt Wilson.
Also honored were the Nutrition Services Team of the Senior Services Division, who delivered groceries and meals to seniors across Frederick County. “Now initially the grocery program was once a month and has been expanded to twice a month in response to demand and to meet the need,” says Gardner. “Currently, all the county’s nutrition programs are delivering almost 3,000 meals per week, double what we were doing prior to COVID.”
The Nutrition Team members are Director of Home and Community Connections Kitty Devilbiss, along with Ginny Skelley, Steve Stoyke, Deb Ayers, Gary Jagow and Terry Land.
“Video Services Manager John Mongan and Assistant Manager Scott Betts have integrated new software that allows people to listen to meetings on the phone if they don’t have internet access, and allows the members of the public to call in and comment live during public meetings,” County Executive Gardner says. “They not only worked on the technical issues that come with any new system; they had to train a variety of other staff on how to use the software.”
Also honored as Unsung Heroes are part of the Interagency Information Technologies Division which made it possible for a large percentage of County employees to telework. Gardner recognized two employees, Elan Poteat and Brendan Frey, who led the roll out of the new technology.
The County Executive also honored the Custodial Services team. “In response to the pandemic, our Facilities Services Department created a decontamination unit to address how to make spaces safe if someone in a county facility was suspected or confirmed to have been positive for COVID-19, ” she said.
The County Executive also recognized the Treasury staff headed by Diane Fox and Dan Lewis, who continued to seemlessly operate the department during the COVID-19 pandemic. The office is closed, but Treasury employees were able to adapt its day-to-day operations on line, and through a drive-up window. The other members of the Treasury team are Stormie Combs, Kathie Martin, Mandy Mansell and Jyothi Pradeep.
Gardner says each of these employees will receive a gift card in appreciation of their work.
She also says other unsung heroes who work in county government will be honored each Friday for their hard work.