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Clinic Staff Gives Back to Do-It-All Maintenance Man After Bad Luck StrikesPublished: March 17, 2021
Part joker, part handyman, Barry Wilkins is well known to many Methodist Physicians Clinic employees.
As a maintenance mechanic, he’s part of a team that does the little things to keep Methodist’s clinics running safely and smoothly. When there’s a snowstorm, he’s clearing snow from the walks and around employee vehicles. In warmer months, he might be trimming trees or making sure the air conditioning system is serviced. And whether it’s maintaining or repairing something at Methodist’s many locations, there are countless other tasks to stay on top of.
“He really plays a crucial part in just making the building work so we can be here and do our jobs,” said Dana Buresh, MSN, office manager for pediatrics and infectious disease at Methodist’s clinic in the Regency area.
She added: “He’s always telling little jokes here and there. And he has chickens, so maybe he’ll bring in some eggs to share.”
It’s all in a day’s work for Wilkins, who has been in his role for over 20 years. The part of the job he loves is the people he works with.
“I like the camaraderie,” he said. “I know so many people, and they’re all nice. I’ve watched some of them grow up, graduate college and start a family. That’s probably the best part.”
So when Wilkins found himself the victim of misfortune recently, the Regency staff had his back.
“We Need To Do Something”
Wilkins was on a lunch break in January when someone broke into his truck and made off with over $600 in tools – some belonging to Methodist and some of his own.
Methodist replaced the company tools, and Wilkins thought the incident was behind him. Not long after, while chatting with Regency clinic staff members, he mentioned what had happened.
“We need to do something,” Buresh remembered thinking. “Barry does so much for us. If we need anything small to big, he does it. He’s quick and efficient. And he’s just a funny, good guy.”
The staff soon hatched a plan to collect money for Wilkins and surprise him. Buresh pitched the idea to other departments, which were quick to jump on board. Before long, they had collected over $1,000.
A Surprise Gift
Buresh knew that giving Wilkins the money would make him uncomfortable – “He’s a very humble guy. He doesn’t like attention.” – but that didn’t stop her. On a Friday when he was working at Regency, she texted him. He needed to come to the building’s third floor.
He knew something was up and protested, but Buresh insisted. Wilkins remembers the moment of surprise.
“At first, I was kind of embarrassed,” he said. “I don’t like people making a fuss over me anyway. Then you walk off the elevator, and there are 30 or 40 people standing there telling how much they appreciate what you do. It put a knot in my throat.”
Then he received the envelope.
“That’s more than what I lost,” he recalled. “They said, ‘Well, that’s what everybody donated.’”
Wilkins is still shocked by the gift, but he’s thinking of a way he can share it with the staff. One thing he’s sure of: The real story is how his coworkers came together to support him.
“I don’t want it to be about me,” he said. “It’s about them. They went way above and beyond. As far as I’m concerned, I’m just doing my job and something weird happened, and they stepped up to help me.”