KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Kerri Jordan has been one of the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The respiratory therapist at UT Medical Center has helped countless survivors suffering lung damage get their quality of life back. The hospital recently put the spotlight on Jordan and her team.

Now, it’s our turn.

The workout equipment at the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department can be daunting for a person having trouble catching their breath.

“They’re scared when they come here,” Jordan said of her patients.

The cutting-edge machinery isn’t enough. It needs the human component. A caring professional like Jordan can help patients feel comfortable.

“Kind of getting to know them a little bit, you know, they tell us about their families,” she explained.

She went on to share that it’s all about teamwork.

“Each of us has a different specialty that we bring,” Jordan said. “Each of us has a different background that we bring to the program.”

Jordan has been working at UT Medical Center for three years, so most of her time has been spent caring for a lot of recovering COVID patients.

“The impact it’s had on people’s lives is so sad, but then it’s so rewarding to be able to see from start to finish,” she said

There’s an impact on the therapists’ lives as well as they bond and make memories they carry with them.

“A lot of these patients have had no health problems in their life ever,” Jordan said. “We had one gentleman that did not even take anything other than vitamins, owned his own business, (and) just healthy, healthy. He’s terrified because he’s … on oxygen.

“You never had to wear oxygen before, you’re trying to live life dragging this tank behind you. So to see him coming in so vulnerable, so scared, to graduating; they’re able to live life again, they know what they’re supposed to do. They know how to take care of themselves.”

UT Medical Center recognized Kerri and her team during Pulmonary Rehab Week earlier this month.