Sudbury.com's Essential Worker of the Day is a new daily feature that applauds our local health care and other essential workers who continue to serve our community during these uncertain times. We honour an essential worker every day at noon. But that' not all, every other Wednesday, we will feature an essential worker as part of our Community Leaders Program.
Today, we are sharing the story of a Greater Sudbury paramedic who is currently living apart from his pregnant wife and young child so he can continue to help others in need.
Matt Childs has dedicated the past two years helping people.
"As paramedics, I think we all want to make a difference," Childs told Sudbury.com. "And to have a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of our patients."
He said for the most part it's been "business as usual" for him and his fellow paramedics as they continue to respond to emergencies but, like all health care workers, Child's job now has a new set of challenges.
In light of COVID-19, paramedics have to take more precautions when responding to a call. All patients are now screened for COVID-19 symptoms so paramedics can don the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to a call for help. This not only keeps them safe, but also protects the patient and the general public.
But taking these extra measures is not the most stressful part for Childs.
"In regards to COVID-19, I think the most stressful part of the job has been the concern about potentially bringing the virus home to our families," he said.
"Thankfully that has not happened and our service has been proactive in developing new policies and procedures to ensure our safety on the job."
Like many other health care workers with family members who are more susceptible to the virus, Childs has had to physically distance himself from his loved ones.
He and his wife, Kayla, have a toddler and are expecting their second child in a couple of months. Because of his high-risk job, as a precaution, Matt is currently living in a RV parked in the family's driveway. Kayla told Sudbury.com they're trying to stay positive.
"It has definitely had its ups and downs," Kayla said. "Having a toddler at home as well as being at the end of my pregnancy with baby No. 2 has added another layer to it, but we are trying to make it a very positive experience by cooking for daddy and making lots of art to post up in the RV."
Thanks to the generosity from the Auto Depot Performance Group, which lent the RV to the family, Childs is still able to be closer to home.
Kayla still cooks all his meals and delivers them to the RV and the family makes a point to see each other every day with visits through the window.
"Everything considered, we are very lucky for Matt to be with such an amazing service that puts his safety and the public’s safety first," Kayla said. "We are looking forward to him coming back into the house soon.
"I am so incredibly proud of Matt and his co-workers for everything they do on a daily basis, as well as a number of our friends who are also front-line health care workers."
"Health care is a team sport and there are lots of groups and individuals that deserve recognition," Childs said. "My co-workers are a dedicated and compassionate group of individuals who have been working extremely hard under difficult circumstances."
He also applauded the public for their continued support and wants to encourage residents to continue practicing social distancing.
"The residents of Sudbury have been great at following the recommendations of Public Health, so I would just say 'continue to help flatten the curve'."
"Stay home, stay safe."
Do you know an essential worker who deserves to be recognized? Say thanks to someone you know who is a front-line health care worker, cashier or truck driver by sending in a photo, their name, their job title and your words of thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please only send photos and information with permission.