One of Michael Fitzsimmons’ roles at Good Samaritan Society – Bonell Community is to call families of those residents who are infected with the coronavirus.
It’s an important task and one that a lot of people wouldn’t envy. Michael sees it as providing a vital service within this Greeley, Colorado, community, however.
He is development director for the Good Samaritan Society in Greeley and Fort Collins, but is also an ordained Presbyterian minister. Because of his background, he was asked to serve in a support role to families dealing with the pandemic.
“It has been very rewarding,” Michael says. “I think they appreciate the communication between the community and themselves. It’s an honor for me to be here and be able to reach out to those families. They’ve been so cordial, so thankful for all the care their loved ones have received.”
The Greeley area has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus, something that has made Michael’s role more challenging. Pandemic circumstances have made a tough job tougher. As a result, a lot is asked of staff, as well as the residents themselves, who are without the company of family.
“A major theme that keeps coming up with every phone call is they wish they were able to be with their loved ones,” Michael says. “That’s especially true for those whose loved ones passed away and they weren’t able to be there for them. It’s been very emotional for them and the staff.”
Michael also serves as a city councilman in Greeley, so he had plenty to do prior to taking on an additional service role a few months back.
The phone calls go out every day. Most often he provides updates and comfort. He’ll assure those not able to see residents that Good Samaritan Society – Bonell Community has everyone’s best interests at heart.
“The reality is that they’ve always thought their loved ones would be there and that they can go and see them and bring chocolate chip cookies like they always did,” Michael says. “And now that is not available to them.”
There will be a day when families will have an easier time delivering cookies and the like to the people they love. In the meantime, maintaining communication with those who can’t visit is a vital service.
“What I’ve learned is that patience and compassion and listening are three big components,” Michael says. “I can’t offer any solutions but I can listen to what they have to say and try to address their questions the best I can. It’s been surreal but it’s been an honor to serve in this role.”