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Environmental Services: a team of expert problem-solvers

The environmental services team at Clay Center Presbyterian Manor has gone above and beyond throughout the past year to ensure all of our residents and staff are safe and comfortable.

But it’s not been without a few hiccups, which is typical when your work involves many moving parts and the unpredictable forces of Mother Nature.

“My first couple of months, we had a lightning storm that blew out the transformer,” said environmental services director Craig Easterberg. “It burned up half of it, so we had partial lights, and the generator was running. We got the electric company out, but they didn’t have a new one. So they had to make a 3-hour trip, but then the tires blew out on the trailer. We were about 15 hours on the generator. It was a long day, but we got it going.”

And that was around the same time that COVID-19 cases were increasing across the country. That brought a unique set of challenges for those in the department, which deals with laundry, trash, cleaning and mechanical repairs.

“That was a challenge — keeping everyone safe and keeping the rooms clean,” Craig said. “Each room has to have its own bio trash — anything they touch in that room has to go in the bio trash. We didn’t want the disease to spread, because that just makes it miserable for everybody. Our staff had to always make sure they had their PPE (personal protective equipment) on and that’s really hard on a person.”

Adding to the difficulty was the changing nature of responding to the virus, as health officials learned more about the virus’ behavior.

“Expectations changed as we learned more,” Craig said. “We put our top floor into COVID, and when you went there to work, you didn’t come down until your shift was over.”

The staff, however, met these changing demands with a spirit of cooperation and helpfulness.

“I did get the COVID back in November, and everyone jumped right in,” Craig said. “I had to leave for a couple of weeks, and they kept everything going. The staff made it easy for me to not have to worry as much.”

Whether it’s dealing with a broken air conditioning unit, figuring out an electrical problem, or working to make sure each room is clean for every resident, the team has excelled in making sure that Presbyterian Manor is running smoothly.

“When we get that call — usually at midnight — it’s something like a water line breaking,” Craig said. “You never want to get the call, but it’s going to happen. You just relax and do your job.”

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