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Heroes of COVID-19: Devon Gables Healthcare

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Every day, people are risking their lives on the frontlines, fighting the COVID-19 virus.

This month at News 4 Tucson, we are paying tribute to these heroes and sharing our gratitude. Some can be found at Devon Gables Healthcare, a rehabilitation center on the northeast side.

Rehabilitation centers across Southern Arizona have been locked up to protect their residents. Those heroes had to adapt to fast learning every day on the job.

Darunee Armenta, or to everyone else "Da," is the infection control nurse at Devon Gables Healthcare.

"I feel like it's a calling," Armenta said.

Like the rest of the over 200 staff fighting on the front lines, she is recognized as a hero.

"Oh gosh, I don't feel like I'm a hero," Armenta said. "I feel like this is just a part of who I am."

While she can't see her own hero status, it does not go unnoticed by others. Heather Friebus with Devon Gables said all her staff are continuing to do the extraordinary in this extremely challenging time. 

"From our nurses that are right at the bed side without patients to our house keepers making sure things are sanitized, to laundry that fold our gowns that we use for PPE," Friebus said.

Every day has new obstacles. Armenta is trained by the CDC and works around the clock to make sure her patients are safe. She also makes sure the facility is operating at a more than perfect standard.

She said walking through the doors is always a challenge.

"We have all had emotional days," Armenta said. "We pick each other up. I have a coworker here that lost both her mother and her 34-year-old son and we help carry her."

They continue to show up everyday because being a hero is who they are.

"For me it's purposeful, it's not an option," Armenta said. "We are the hands and voice and heart of the families that can't be here."

These heroes will continue to work day in and day out fighting for the loved ones.

Armenta has been called Wonder Woman by her coworkers, but she said every day is a team effort.

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Austin Walker

Austin is a Reporter at KVOA News 4 Tucson. He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2020.

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