Charles (Chuck) Fields and Sergeant Michael (Mike) Fuller have very different job responsibilities. Chuck, director of Information Systems support, works in a call center environment, managing anywhere from 100 to 150 calls per day while handling other IT related tasks. Sgt. Fuller, lead security officer, walks approximately 12 miles per day around campus making rounds, helping visitors find their way and keeping the hospital safe.
But, on a personal level, Chuck and Sgt. Fuller share a similar sense of compassion. This unlikely duo, both in passing while at work, encountered a man struggling with addiction. They came together, sat with the man and encouraged him to seek help in the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED). Chuck and Sgt. Fuller helped the man over to the ED and stayed until he was seen.
Sgt. Fuller could relate to the man in more than one way. “I’m a person who’s in recovery,” he explains. “I attend a recovery meeting that takes place here in the hospital. My empathy is there. But also, that’s the person I am. When you sit down with somebody and give them a little bit of one-on-one attention, when they’re already feeling awkward, it takes the pressure off of them.”
Before leaving the ED, Chuck wrote his name and number on a piece of paper and placed it inside the man’s pocket. “It was just a moment where I felt that this gentleman needed some additional help,” he says. “At any point, if he did need something, I was happy to spend some more time with him just to be able to help.”
By chance encounter, Sgt. Fuller saw the man a month after the incident. He expressed how grateful he was for Sgt. Fuller and Chuck taking the time to help him during what he felt was a very vulnerable moment in his life. “Sometimes people who come through here, especially those who suffer with addiction and relapse, can feel like their bridges have been burned,” says Sgt. Fuller. “The neat thing about being at AAMC is that we have so many resources, and we have a hospital that has a lot to offer to our community.”
Pro tip: “When someone is coming up to you to talk, listen. We are all in this together.”