Beautifully broken, a work of art gives hope to hospital staff

CALDWELL, Idaho — The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed healthcare workers to their limits, inspiring West Valley Medical Center to turn those struggles into something beautiful.

On Monday, Caldwell’s West Valley Medical Center unveiled a new 3D artwork during a ceremony honoring staff for their efforts over the past two years of responding to the pandemic.

Related: “There’s a Great Stress on the System,” West Valley Stretched Due to COVID-19

Local artist Lorrie Byerly created the sculpture by assembling broken glass left over from West Valley Medical’s “Break COVID” event in the fall of 2021. During the Break COVID event, West Valley staff threw plates, cups and glass objects on a painted cartoon coronavirus on a wall outside the hospital.

madison hardy

Sara Moody, medical case manager at WVMC, said the Break COVID event was a must-have activity for everyone at the center.

“It doesn’t matter what role you play in the hospital – everyone plays a role in caring for our patients,” Moody said Monday. “It was great to all be together and vent that frustration.”

Byerly represented unity through the mosaic piece, which depicted a circle of multicolored hands and inspirational lyrics.

West Valley Medical Center artwork

Director of Marketing and Public Relations Kaycee Emery said the sculpture also marks West Valley’s move into the future and a “new era of hope”.

Related: Health officials shift to long-term pandemic response

“Hopefully it shows them that you can become gorgeous,” Emery said. “We’ve had a tough couple of years with COVID, but there are some things we can learn and get through together from this.”

Viewing the artwork on Monday was an emotional experience for West Valley Environmental Services Director Carlos Vazquez.

“It makes you think back to some memories, some of the people we lost and the people who struggled,” Vazquez said. “We even lost employees, thankfully not to COVID but to the stress of COVID. So to think about all these different struggles and challenges was very emotional about it.”