Long after the customers have enjoyed their meals and once the cooks have turned off their stoves and the servers have stashed away their trays, there is still work to be done. Even though the sign is turned off and the floors are mopped, there is one other cleaning chore for restaurants and kitchens.
That is when Josh and Jaime Lingle’s company, Shawnee Hoods, goes to work.
The couple, along with a team of four technicians and some administrative staff, takes on the sometimes unpleasant task of cleaning the exhaust systems required for commercial kitchens in restaurants, churches, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other locations.
“Any location that cooks for the public has to have a fire suppression system in their kitchen,” co-owner Jaime Lingle said. “They are required to have the system and their exhaust systems cleaned on a regular basis.”
She adds that without regular cleaning, the systems may not function correctly.
“Routine cleanings keep the fire suppression system free of grease, allowing it to do its job should a fire occur. Due to the amount of grease build-up in these types of locations, a regular six-month cleaning may be all you need to keep grease from building up on the fire suppression system, crud from accumulating in the hood, and grime from sticking to the fan,” she said.
Lingle says even though many of her company’s nearly 600 customers have different cleaning schedules — ranging from quarterly maintenance for fast food restaurants to twice a year for other clients.
“It depends on a variety of things like how busy they are, what they cook and the type of cooking oil they may use,” she said.
Regardless of the frequency, Lingle says the process is the same: moving equipment, setting up plastic barriers to keep other areas clean and using high pressure spray to clean and degrease hoods, exhaust systems and even roof-mounted fans. Once everything is cleaned, the hood will be dried and shined. All in all, the process takes each two-man crew a couple of hours.
“We put the equipment back and then it’s all looking great and ready to go when the morning crew comes in to cook,” she said.
Lingle says the Carterville-based company has clients as far away as Effingham and St. Louis as well as in western Kentucky and southeast Missouri, but she hopes to eventually focus more on restaurants and institutions closer to home.
“Often our technicians are spending a couple of hours on the road to and from a job,” she said. “I know they prefer to stay closer to home and it just feels different taking care of restaurants in Southern Illinois. We like taking care of our own people.”
Lingle says the regular cleanings also provide an opportunity for technicians and co-owner Josh Lingle to make certain everything is working correctly.
“Our crews take before and after photos of each and every job,” she said. “We use that as a sort of quality control, but it also has helped us find items that may need to be addressed with a particular hood.”
Shawnee Hoods’ work not only gives leaves the hoods looking good and functioning well, Lingle adds that there is one other benefit.
“It gives restaurant owners, managers and their employees peace of mind,” she said.
For more on Shawnee Hoods, call 618-681-2900 or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/shawneehoods.
Meet the 'Mask Committee,' making masks for Southern Illinois police, health care workers
Photos: Meet the 'Mask Committee,' making masks for Southern Illinois police, health care workers
On March 20, I made a mask for my husband, who is a health care worker, because there was a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE, at his workplace. Then, I made more masks for my elderly neighbors, elderly local people and local friends, as well as friends from New York and Florida. I was using leftover fabric I had in my workshop — holidays patterns like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Fourth of July.
I was running out of material and then Calico Country Sew store in Carbondale started donating fabric. I picked up some yards, and I was able to make masks for the police officers from Carterville. But, that was it: I ran out of material, and Amazon wasn’t shipping until May. As soon as I announced on my Facebook page that I had run out of material, people started donating fabric, metal wire, machine needles and threads. With that donation, I was able to keep making more masks to donate, and I completed a group of masks for Herrin police officers.
Then, Dr. Amanda Brazis Cook from Southern Illinois Healthcare approached me asking if I can reuse operating room drapes to make masks. She brought the material to my house, and at that point, I realized I needed extra hands to mass produce masks for area health care workers.
I asked the president of Carterville Rotary Club to help me find ladies who know how to sew, and Mary Slider and Louise Humble joined the effort. I also asked the president of my Woman’s Club in Herrin, and she was able to help me find three more ladies: Patty Cox, Carla Shasteen and Tienne Kollar, all of Herrin.
Another doctor joined the team: Dr. Danielle Tomevi brought material and also found a lady to help us, Dorene from Murphysboro.
And that is how the mask committee was formed. We named it "Mask Committee: Keep Calm and Sew."
After that, Joni, a nurse at Herrin Hospital, joined the committee, too, then Mary Russell, one of the managers from Dillards, Nancy, one of my neighbors, and Mirna from Murphysboro.
We have been sewing our hearts out since March. April was the busiest month for us. We have made hundreds of masks to donate.
Then, we had a request of a new pattern and we had to divide the committee in two to work the requested pattern. Dr. Sara Altamimi provided us with more OR drapes to use, and we have been working making two different masks for area health care workers.
Ninety-five percent of the masks have been donated to SIH, and 5% to community members and police officers. We have received several selfies of health care workers wearing the masks in different departments. It really made us happy that we can give back and help the community in time of need.
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