Heart Land: Cincinnati nurse protects those without shelter: ‘These people have nothing’


During the stay-at-home order most people are doing just that, but not everyone has a home to shelter in.

Deann Ramey is a nurse for Cincinnati’s health department and has taken to creating masks for those who don’t have a home to shelter in.

Working downtown Ramey noticed how the homeless either don’t have masks at all or have been wearing “one-time-use” masks well past effectiveness. Ramey then dedicated her weekends to creating masks for those who don’t have the resources.

“I work over at Holmes Street Heath Center and I see it,” Ramey said. “I live it every single day; these people have nothing, and they just don’t get it.”

Without a sewing machine and much prior experience, Ramey makes masks with adjustable straps to better fit the person wearing them. It takes her two hours per mask, so far, she’s made 30 and has no plans of stopping soon.

Ramey has bought more colors and has even started to add fun buttons to some masks. She hopes to donate all her masks to the Homeless Healthcare Van that helps those downtown.

Ramey isn’t afraid of this virus, although she is considered high-risk because she lives with diabetes she still chooses to work on the front-lines to educate and help others.

“We are all high-risk,” Ramey said. “If I can do something to help people I will.”

She enjoys what she does, educating and helping others. At the clinic she serves a good number of patients who are diabetic. She’s able to relate on a deeper level and can share with them her experiences and living with her Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Her Dexcom G6 is a medical device that continuously monitors her glucose levels and notifies her of potentially dangerous lows and highs.

“The need is great; a lot of teaching is needed,” Ramey said. “A lot of education and that’s why I love my job because I’m a diabetic and so may of our patients are diabetic and so we can relate.”

The Enquirer will provide regular stories from the Heart Land displayed as Greater Cincinnatians cope with the new coronavirus pandemic. Here are more stories from earlier in the week:

A drive-thru graduation celebration
The rain on their parade didn’t dampen the achievements they earned.

The Children’s Home and the Heidt Center of Excellence celebrated their 17 graduating seniors – including 15 on the autism spectrum – with a drive-thru graduation celebration Monday evening.

“We have some of the brightest and most passionate educators in Greater Cincinnati,” Pam McKie, chief operating officer of The Children’s Home said. “As the state slowly began its phased reopening, we assembled a task force to explore whether it was even possible to do something special and more personal for our students. The team came up with an innovative ‘drive-thru graduation’ concept.”

The graduates and their families processed through the circle drive in their cars, in alphabetical order. At the top of the circle, their diploma and other gifts will be placed in the trunk or handed through the car window depending on the family’s preference. They then met a photographer at the end of the circle to commemorate the moment.

A limited amount of staff members lined the campus circle drive, maintaining social distancing, to cheer and wave to the graduates as they pass by.

“We wanted to do something special for our seniors; but, obviously keeping safety and adherence with state guidance as our top priorities,” McKie said. “We’ve coordinated with our partners at Cincinnati Police Department, have a plan to maintain appropriate social distancing, and are ensuring staff and students will not be in direct contact with each other.”

The Children’s Home of Cincinnati was founded in 1864 to provide daycare and shelter to abandoned, neglected and poor children. Over the years, the home has evolved from a residential home to a program that centered on adoptions to its current structure – educational and therapeutic programs for children and their families.