By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
New York City Health + Hospitals named one very special essential worker, Jhonelly Gil, a Local 420 Housekeeping Aide, its 2021 Amazing Employee of the Year.
Gil was selected from the NYC H+H workforce of 44,000 employees. Thirty-five finalists– including Gil– were picked for distinguished service, significant achievements, and for displaying extraordinary care and compassion to their colleagues and patients. A vote by his fellow healthcare heroes catapulted Gil to the top. The honor surprised Gil, who came to New York from the Dominican Republic at age 17 and has worked at Bellevue Hospital’s Emergency Department for 14 years.
“Of all the hospital workers doing extraordinary things during the pandemic, my coworkers honored me. For me to win has to be God’s work,” said Gil, who keeps Bellevue Hospital’s Emergency Department, one of the nation’s busiest, clean and sanitary.
The hospital’s unionized cleaning staff is the frontline to prevent the spread of infection. “I watched patients come to the ER with COVID-19 and two or three days later they were dead.” Gil said. “I pray we never go back to those dark times.”
Gil washed down walls, mopped floors, disposed of used personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and gowns so that others would not contract the deadly coronavirus or other infectious diseases. By the end of his daily shift, Gil said, “I was drenched with sweat. We worked like animals during the pandemic. It was exhausting.”
More than 110,000 sick or injured New Yorkers visit Bellevue’s Emergency Department each year.
Coworkers and managers said Gil brings an amazing energy and his positive attitude lifts everyone’s mood. Through it all Gil credits God: “His word keeps me positive and recharges my spirit and keeps me strong. If you show someone respect and you show them love, you’re going to get it back.”
“This is well-deserved recognition for a truly outstanding union member,” said Carmen Charles, President of NYC Hospital Employees Local 420. “We’re very proud of Jhonelly Gil and thank him and the thousands of dedicated Local 420 members who voted for one of their own. We appreciate all essential workers who work tirelessly to keep us safe and keep New York City running.”