After learning of the tragic COVID-19 outbreak at the Andbe Home facility in Norton, a Kansas veteran with ties to the community felt called to offer help.
On Nov. 4, Travis Hansen, owner of the Topeka-based Bio-One franchise, and two members of his team made the 10-hour round trip to Norton to disinfect and sanitize the Andbe Home facility completely free of charge. Named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the best Crime and Trauma Scene Clean Up franchises in the nation, Bio-One specializes in disinfection, sanitation and decontamination.
For Hansen, offering the services to the Norton nursing home at absolutely no cost — a nearly $20,000 value given the mileage and time it took to disinfect and sanitize — was a way of giving back to the Andbe Home and extending to them his appreciation for the compassionate care the facility had provided to his grandmother when she lived there several years ago.
After the facility’s COVID-19 outbreak made national headlines several weeks ago , Megan Mapes, Andbe Home administrator, began receiving an overwhelming number of calls from companies wanting to sell biohazard cleaning products and services to the facility.
When Hansen reached out to Megan to offer his services, she said it was his approach and caring tone that made a world of difference at a time when many other callers had taken a more "wheeler-dealer" and less sincere approach.
"After he told me about his company and what he could provide for us in this difficult time, he said something that moved me in such a troubling time," Mapes said.
Hansen indicated he wished to offer his services to the Andbe Home facility free of charge.
"Years ago, you took care of my grandma, Lenora, and she received wonderful care there and I want to repay you for that," he explained.
On Nov. 4, Hansen and two members of his team, Tim Armstrong and Barry Blassingame, left Topeka and made their way across the state to reach the Andbe Home facility and begin the process of biohazard remediation. Donning hazmat suits and other protective personal equipment, Hansen, Armstrong and Blassingame deep-cleaned every square inch of the facility’s common areas, utilizing fogger machines to put out a fine mist of disinfectant, penetrate hard-to-clean areas and effectively eliminate surface-based and airborne pathogens.
For Hansen, hearing the news about the Andbe Home’s COVID-19 outbreak was heartbreaking. His grandmother resided at the Andbe Home for many years until she died in 2018.
"They (the Andbe Home staff) took very good care of Grandma, making the last few years of her life as comfortable as possible," he said.
Hansen grew up in Hays and now lives north of Topeka. He is the nephew of Earl and Barb Hansen, of Norton. His father, Lee, grew up in Lenora but now lives in Hays. Travis has two children, Caden and Cierra. He spent 13 years serving in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Air National Guard. For over two decades, he has worked in the traffic safety industry.
He has owned Bio-One for three years. He also owns Bobcats Bar and Grill, which is located on the north side of Perry Lake in Jefferson County.
Bio-One specializes in all types of extreme cleaning and provides a variety of services. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a surge of business and state contracts for Bio-One as the need for disinfection, sanitation and decontamination services has grown exponentially.
"It was important to us that we did our part to help keep the remaining residents and staff safe," Hansen said of his decision to travel to the Andbe Home and offer help. "I’m sure Grandma would have been proud of the Bio-One team."
Mapes said it brought tears to her eyes that someone would donate their time, mileage and services.
"It was a very caring and thoughtful gesture. We appreciate the timeliness and good services that Bio-One provided for our home," she said. "I am so moved by all the caring things that have happened since our outbreak."
After news of the COVID-19 outbreak made headlines, Mapes said, people in town began to call to see if they could come into the facility to help work. However, the facility could not allow this given the circumstances.
Over the past couple of weeks, community members have donated items to the facility, such as trash cans and organizational carts, and many people have brought snacks and drinks for the staff and residents.
The facility even received a "comfort kit" from a business in Hawaii. It was full of different tropical shortbread cookies and macadamia nuts.
"We received letters from families, past family members of residents, church groups, other nursing homes and hospitals, and so much support and so many prayers," Mapes said. "It was wonderful to see in this dark time and the facility and myself are so appreciative of the love and support of the community and businesses."
Mapes said the Andbe Home’s new management is continuing to work to restore compliance and continued licensure for the facility.