product of months of collaboration by Melbourne-based artist Derek Gores and Health First associates
Health First commissioned artist Derek Gores of Melbourne to turn photos and hand-written sticky-note prayers and wishes into an “enduring” remembrance of pandemic suffering, solidarity and triumph.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – It’s emotional. A symbol of teamwork and resilience, in the uniform of pandemic. It’s made up of prayers and wishes and remembrances. Health First Hospital Division CEO Brett Esrock summed it up when he said, “For us, it’s personal.”
The occasion was the unveiling of a 12-by-8-foot collage called “The Many Layers of Heroism,” the incredible product of months of work by Melbourne-based artist Derek Gores and written contributions from hundreds of associates.
“We wanted Health First to create something that would be enduring within our organization, forever, to remember a time period when people came together – a time period when we saw so many different layers of heroism emerge,” said Paula Just, Chief Experience Officer.
Now, the original and six prints will be mounted on walls at seven locations around the health system.
From the four Health First hospitals to the hospice administration building to the flagship Medical Group campus on Gateway Drive – to the Health First Connections Center where Just and Esrock joined Gores beside his canvas – the healthcare community gathered to remember. They looked for their own sticky note used to build the canvas.
They pointed out images and reminisced. They marked the suffering and celebrated one another – the solidarity and the triumph.
“12-by-8 feet – it’s pretty big,” Gores told the crowd. “But it needed to be big to capture what your teams have gone through, what you did – what you are still doing.”
Gores said most of his original pieces “play in the escapist world of luxury and travel and fashion, but this had to be very real, very grounded and of the moment” and he credited the hundreds of Health First associates who contributed sticky notes.
“Many people mentioned the honor code, the holy purpose of helping. There’s also pain and loss in here, but I was hoping that, through collage, we have these details that add up to the whole of the moment, and that’s the beauty of humanity even through all of those challenges.”
Present at the unveiling were three of the five Holmes Regional Medical Center clinicians who served as the models in the original image: Unit Coordinator Nicole Biggs and Nurses Lisa Amy and Samantha Hill.
Gores’ mother Cathy Belcher, herself a longtime Health First employee, now retired, was there with her son for the occasion.
“He said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to come to this unveiling.’ He’s very much a hometown boy, and I’m very proud,” she said. “I just love the company. I’m happy with the Medicare plan. I’m very thrilled with the opportunity that women have had at Health First, and the comradery is outstanding.”
Visit HF.org/news_and_events to find out what’s happening at Health First.
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