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‘It’s more than a job’ | Hoosier workers play crucial role in getting PPE where it needs to go during pandemic

Workers at Henry Schein Distribution Center in Indianapolis have been pivotal in shipping PPE around the country during the pandemic.

INDIANAPOLIS — In what would normally be your average warehouse on Indy's northwest side, Liz Herrington says her job lately has been anything but normal.

“It definitely feels good coming in every day,” she said as she rolled her cart full of packages across the floor of the 600,000-square-foot facility. “Honestly, I can easily say that working here – it’s been my proudest place of employment.”

That’s because, in a pandemic, her mission has never been more important.

Those masks? Those gloves? The wipes and sanitizer? All that personal protective equipment, so critical during the pandemic, is sorted, packed, stacked, and shipped across the country and the world by Herrington and her 450 coworkers at Henry Schein.

“When you clock in, you’re not thinking about it. Then you kind of sit back and it’s like, you know, the bigger picture is we’re helping get this pandemic behind us,” said Jonah Gray, production team leader.

Even under normal circumstances, this facility is busy. It’s one of the company’s five distribution centers across the country. Employees ship out, on average, about 26,000 boxes of supplies every day.

Credit: WTHR
Henry Schein Distribution Center in Indianapolis.

During the height of the pandemic, some employees were working 16-hour shifts to make it happen.

“And they did it willingly,” said Jeremy Sieben, executive director of the company’s Indianapolis distribution center.

Overtime is voluntary.

"So the folks that came together throughout the pandemic did it on their own free will," he said. “These people are amazing. We’ve worked long hours under grueling circumstances throughout the pandemic.”

To Jonah Gray, it's about more than the paycheck.

“Bigger picture - we’re helping get through this pandemic,” he said.

“Coming here, being a part of something bigger than what I’m doing just day to day (is more than a job),” Herrington said. “Because we’re helping our local community as well as our global community.”

Helping get safer, healthier, and someday back to normal, one shift at a time.

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