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This post originally appeared on the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital’s website.
If you’re looking for the definition of dedication, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital pharmacy technician Tim Myers might be a pretty good example of one.
The quadriplegic Veteran traveled seven miles on his motorized wheelchair along the streets of Tampa from his home to the hospital as Hurricane Irma approached Sept. 10. He then rode out the storm all night, all to make sure hospital patients would get their medications without delay.
Myers is a runner for the inpatient pharmacy and delivers medications for patients throughout the hospital. He said he knew there were going to be a lot of people out because of the approaching hurricane and that the pharmacy would need him.
But Myers didn’t plan on using his chair to get to the hospital that day.
“I thought I had a ride lined up for Sunday morning,” Myers said. “I take a cab every day and the lady who usually drives me said if I needed a ride to call her. So, I called her and she said all the cabs were grounded (because of the approaching storm) and she couldn’t take me. I knew I had to get there, so I took off in the chair and I came to work.”
Myers left his home at 7 a.m. Sunday morning and the trip took him 45 minutes. While it wasn’t raining when he left, it started again about halfway to the hospital.
For Myers, the trip was no big deal.
“I mean I’m scheduled to work, I have to get here,” he said. “So either I either don’t get here or I take the chair.”
Others didn’t see it quite the same way. Inpatient Pharmacy Supervisor Dr. Courtney Ullrich, who also rode out the storm at the hospital, said she didn’t find out about Myers journey until later that afternoon.
“I was concerned, number one, for his safety. Coming in that great distance on his chair is probably not the safest thing to do,” Ullrich said. “Then I was concerned for his health because it was raining out, and then I was just shocked and amazed that he was willing to put forth such a great effort to come in. We would have all understood if he wasn’t able to come in, but he fought the good fight to get here.”
After spending all day and night Sunday at the hospital, Myers finally went home around 2 p.m. Monday, but not before relief came in to replace him.
“On Monday morning, I saw him and I said, ‘You know we’re good if you need to go home,’” Ullrich said. “He said, ‘Nope, nobody’s come in yet. I’m staying.’”
Myers was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2006 and spent eight months as an inpatient at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. He’s been working in the pharmacy for three years and said he loves his job and the people at the hospital. When asked if that’s why he went above and beyond, the Veteran downplayed the idea.
“I appreciate that, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me,” Myers said. “I mean, I had to get here.”
About the author: Ed Drohan is a public affairs specialist with the Tampa VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida.