When the labor pool was activated to work in emergency department overflow tents as COVID-19 surged during the holidays, Melissa Rivas, administrative coordinator, human resources, knew she could help. With the Huntington’s HR offices closed for the holidays and her EMT experience, she had the time, skill and compassion to lend a hand.
“It is a small thing to help those that are making such an impact during a time in history that none of us will ever forget,” Melissa said. Melissa joined Huntington’s HR staff over a year ago. But before that, she was an EMT for the East LA Station. Yet, being a single mother at the time, she soon realized it wasn’t a realistic full-time job. So she took on administrative roles across multiple industries, finally arriving to Huntington Hospital: “If I couldn’t be in the field helping patients, I at least wanted to be in a field helping those who are,” Melissa explained. Not wanting to completely give up being an EMT, she made a compromise. She maintained her EMT license so that she could volunteer at the Rose Parade, roller derby matches, community events – and thankfully for us, here at Huntington.
Postponing her own celebrations with her four children and husband, she worked Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, and both Saturdays after each holiday comforting patients, conducting intakes, ensuring throughput, sanitizing tents, and running specimens and medications. She was also kind enough to give us a window into her experience working directly with COVID-19 patients: “You go into a mode. When you work in the medical field, you can’t let things scare you. You are just there to help. That becomes the goal and really the only thought.”
Melissa is scheduled to continue helping throughout the rest of the month and into February. She explained why: “With the surge expected to continue, how could I not?” She added, “Given the opportunity to volunteer to help our staff who are tirelessly on the frontlines has truly been an honor.”
Thank you, Melissa, for your noble service. You are an inspiration to us all.