What a blessing to spend time with those that serve at the Medical Ministry. It was a family reunion of sorts because I had spent 16 months there on staff. From the first greeter signing in patients, to medical professionals and pharmacy staff, I had observed first-hand, how volunteers and staff give their best to all the low-income patients that have no health insurance. Since I was filling in for someone on vacation, I could jump right back into the action. Before and after clinic hours, I asked staff and volunteers to tell me a good story for the newsletter. Four different people, a nurse, front office staff and a volunteer told the same story about an interaction between two young men.
The young volunteer, in his early 20s has his CNA and is on the path to be a physician. He volunteers at least once a week helping with the routine patient check-in, then with preliminary screenings like weight and blood pressure. One nurse said, “He is very interactive with patients and does anything we ask.”
One cold, rainy night, the last patient was a disheveled, young homeless guy in his late teens or early 20s. He was covered with dirt, his shoes were so tattered and torn you could see feet through the bottom of them. While our volunteer checked his vitals, he learned the patient was too old for foster care and was now on his own. No wonder he looked so hopeless. Staff members were gathering supplies they always keep on hand – food, snacks, toiletries -- some water. During the conversation, one young man said to the other, “What size shoe do you wear? Would you like these shoes?” His patient protested that he could not take someone’s shoes. The volunteer said, “It’s only shoes. I have another pair in my car.” Of course, they ‘happened’ to be the right size.
The storytellers said the shoes were a name brand and that everyone was in tears. They have never seen the young man again but that faithful volunteer still shows up every week.