Why do ATLANTANS – in the summer call the city of Atlanta GA, HOT-LANTA.
Short answer – because most years it is – hot- Hot- HOT! ALL SUMMER.
However, there is one year that we at Always Care remember when we actually got a timely break from the summer weather and it was not so hot as usual.
That was the summer of 1996, and Atlanta was hosting the Summer Olympics from July the 19th to the 4th of August. Most everyone has heard of these games because of the Bombing on July 27, 1996, at Centennial Olympic Park, at the heart of the Olympic Area.
Always Care had 2 Teams of Nurses at the Olympics. No – not competing Sports Teams!
Read on – our adventure began on the morning of Thursday, July 11, 1996. A phone call came into our office, and one of our Nurses promptly answered it. I happened to be in our office, standing near her desk at that time. She is normally a Perky Person on the phone, but I noticed that she was listening intently, and had a strange look on her face. Then she asked the caller if he minded being put on hold while she checked. Doing so, she turned to me and said: “There is a man who says that he is from NBC and wants to know if we can supply them with 25 nurses for the duration of the Olympics.” She further said – it might be a prank call – so what should I say? I said, give him our FAX Number, and tell him to send us a fax on their Letterhead, briefly giving us more information on their requirements and his contact information.
About an hour later, a Fax came in from NBC News. [ Then we knew – It was not a prank call. ]
I called him back at NBC News and I had a discussion with an NBC News V.P.
Their request was for Always Care to set up and Staff, Two (2) – Around the Clock (24/7), Nursing and First Aid stations for them at two different locations. Further, they, needed all of our Nurses and Staff to be at a Briefing in downtown Atlanta on Saturday Morning, which was 2 only two days later at 11 AM.
Obviously, after that phone call ended, our Management and Staff Nurses went into an immediate planning meeting.
The first thing that we decided was for all our nurses to be in the same uniform as much as possible, to make us VERY VIABLE for all of the NBC News People. We decided on White T-Shirts, and White Slacks, or White Long Shorts. We figured that most everyone would have the slacks/shorts, and we would get T-Shirts made.
Ellie our Chief RN, got on the phone and found a T-Shirt Company, that said they could produce our T-Shirts if they had a check by (that day) Thursday afternoon, and we could pick them up the next day (Friday) afternoon. Ellie delivered the check to them by 2 PM, along with the Art Work for our Logo.
Our then Blue Logo was printed on the front Left Side above the Pocket area,
and on the Back Side, we had the printed the word NURSE in 9″ Tall Blue Letters.
Next, everyone got busy contacting our Nurses, (LPN’s and RN’s). Those who committed were to be at our office at 9 AM on the upcoming Saturday Morning. There we had our Mini Always Care briefing. Gave out the T-Shirts and the Nurses changed into them. Then we gathered outside of our office for the photo below:
NURSES who are still with Always Care.
Sharon M. Roberts L.P.N. – Asst. Manager. Her 27th year with Always Care, (2nd from the Left) & Ellie S. Gruensfelder R.N., B.S.N. Her 43rd year with Always Care (3rd from Left in Back Row)
I will digress a little, to describe what was going on in Atlanta, as preparation before the games.
As you can imagine, SECURITY was going to be tight. Think of it as if a target, that had several rings, which was laid over Atlanta, with the Inner Circle being the Downtown area where most of the Olympic Games would be held. This center ring – would have the tightest security with Restricted Access, and then each ring going outward would loosen some. Because of this we at Always Care – were already in the process of Securing Special I.D. Badges for our Caregivers who would need to provide care in that area, or pass through it, going to or from a case.
After the photo, we carpooled to the site of the NBC News beefing downtown. When we arrived at the Briefing Destination, it was a huge abandoned warehouse that was being converted into a temporary Media Operations Center. Outside in the Street, there were Trucks unloading equipment, Thousands of TV’s, Computers & Monitors, Phones, and all kinds of Cables, were being installed, running on the ground to the outside of trucks outside of the building.
These were the LARGE TV Mobil Broadcast and Relay Vehicles, with antennas that can be raised high above them arriving, which is where most of where the cables on the ground were going. As the day progressed, more and more of these arrived and once parked side by side and one behind the other, they filled the entire width of the street for several blocks, so tight, that they could not be moved until the end of the Olympics. Not only were they from our local TV Stations, but from TV Stations from all over the US, and Networks from almost every foreign country that had a team here.
It was inside of the Media Center, where the briefing was held, while it was being set up.
NBC announced who we were and that there would be two Nursing and First Aid stations available 24/7, and their locations. Of course, we Visibly Stood Out in our Always Care
White T-Shirts, with our Blue Logo on the front, and Large Blue NURSE on back.
[Our uniform was so effective, that many people wanted their photos with our nurses]
The rest of the briefing was a learning experience, with insights into a world of TV that few of us know. It seems that NBC is a group of companies, that sometimes actually compete with each other. To mention just a few, they are The Today Show, The Tonight Show, NBC NEW’s and NBC Sports – which was THE NBC COMPANY that – owned the rights to broadcast the Olympics. Therefore, the NBC lawyers were going over the broadcast RULES and letting the other companies such as NBC News know to not step on the toes of NBC Sports. [Example: NBC Sports can show the whole event, but NBC New’s was limited to short “news” segments about such things as showing a team, giving scores, and related things – all in “short” segments.
Again the briefing I clarified our mission with my contact. It was “Do What Needs To Be Done” That being said, we set up our two locations, one near the Warehouse (Media Center) in an office building that was basically unoccupied as it was being renovated, and was close to the Trucks to serve those workers. The other was in the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce building, near Centrical Olympic Park, to serve the NBC News Reporters that were out and about in the whole area. We had a couple of Hospital Beds, Wheelchairs, Walkers, Crutches, and other equipment at both sites.
Back to HOT-LANTA! HEAT, was what were expecting – and our initial planning was for patients with “HEAT Stroke” Sun Burn, Dehydration, and other heat-related conditions.
Secondary was first aid, for things such as cuts and bruises. We coordinated with a couple of Physicians, that we could refer to if needed, (and they were needed). Also, we coordinated with a couple of close-by Drug Stores, which ended up seeing a lot of us.
However as it turned out, Heat, was the least of what we were concerned with, as the temperatures moderated. If you recall, I commented above about the density of the Media Trucks and the Media Center. The workers manning these trucks needed things such as Refills of Rx’s. and other over the counter items. Because (a) they could not leave – the trucks crews operated 24/7 and (b) they had no transportation, so we ran these missions for them. And in some cases transporting several to physicians, and at least one to a hospital. The other site was in the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Building near the Centennial Olympic Park, which was a key center of the Olympics.
Then the Big BANG – (the Bombing on July 27th) in Centennial Olympic Park.
Since this happened so close to our one sites, our Nurses went into the park, and provided immediate care and assisted other First Responders. Later we served several injured people needing follow up care with dressing changes, and other care issues. There was one fatality and over 100 people injured.
[Note: July 12 – Aug 2, 2019, A movie is being Filmed in Downtown, at the actual site of the bombing in Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park. This is for the Clint Eastwood film “Richard Jewell” who was initially accused, but was later proven not to be the bomber.]
So what are the key things that we – at Always Care – learned from this experience.
A. The Always Care Nurses and Management – ARE A – CAN DO TEAM.
B. Complete the Mission! – Our Corporate Mission Statement is:
“Taking Care Of Yours … As If They Were Ours” ®
C. Commitment: Everyday we give our all to – Provide Quality Care.
D. Always Care can react Quickly, and Effectively, to provide care for one or more clients, as we have done – every day – Since 1974.
E. Experience Matters: – It is said that the Definition of Experience is:
“You get the Test First – and then you Learn the Lesson. (We Learn!)
F. Effective Management: Our corporate management, has Military Experience which helped with Planning, Organization, Logistics, Control, and Successful Execution of this Assignment.
G. Post Event Recap. We learned a lot. Which helped us when we handled an even bigger care center mission, for an International Organization, of All Physically Compromised Individuals from different parts of the world, that had an International Convention in Atlanta in 2003. It was centered at one primary location – but larger in terms of the number and complexity of the individuals needing constant care needs. Our staffing and care rendering, involved about 15-20 Nurses, 30 Personal Care Aides, and 30 Medical Assistant Student Volunteers, 24/7 for a week. [ The tease; Stay Tuned – more on this sometime in a future Always Care E-News Letter.] Hint – The Key Note speaker, was the then Vice President of the United States, and Ellie was personally greeted by him and able to shake his hand.
by: Albert L. J. Gruensfelder – CEO
A Special “Thank You” to all of the Always Care Olympic Nurses
The Team – that Won – THE OLYMPIC GOLD – for CARE!
PLUS a Special “Thank You” – to all the Georgians,
who trusted us to provide them Quality Care since 1974.
Note: Our current Administrator, Howard Gruensfelder (who also has Military
Experience) was not in Atlanta at this time. He was managing our 6 Always Care
Locations in the Tampa Bay Florida area. When they were sold, he moved to Atlanta.
P.S. Take care of yourself in this summer’s HEAT in Hot-Lanta!