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Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

 
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Angels in our Midst (Michael "Jake" Martin, United Way 2-1-1 Operator)

Updated: Monday, February 3 2014, 03:04 PM CST

With bad weather headed this way, there are lots of calls going out for help.
When you dial 2-1-1, one voice that will answer is that of Michael Martin.
   
After a career in the Navy, he spent two decades in the mental health field.
He left that for the private sector but made his way back to a place where his heart is fulfilled, helping people.

"United Way 2-1-1.  My name is Jake.  How can I help you?"
Andrea Krieger, Pres./CEO United Way Escambia;  "At any hour of the day, if you hear him on the phone with a client who's calling in, he's doing it with his full heart in his voice."

"You need help with dental services?  If this for a child or for an adult?"
That is the voice of Michael Martin.  He's usually the first one answering the calls to 2-1-1 everyday.

Michael "Jake" Martin, United Way 2-1-1 Operator;  "It's not a matter of who you talk to but that the person you talk to is listening to you.  Not just to the words, but to their tone of voice.  I want them to hear my tone of voice.  That's how I convey, I'm here.  I'm here as a resource for you.  I understand that you're in crisis."

United Way 2-1-1 is the One-Stop Community Resource Referral Center.  Operators have a listing of every possible avenue for help for any problem or need.  

Andrea;  "If your electricity's about to get cut off; you need food; you need heat, right now; you need assistance of some kind, then 2-1-1 is a kind place to call."

"And I want you to get the help that you're seeking, O.K."
Michael;  "I've talked to families that have sold everything they own to try to pay the bills.  They have nothing left.  And they don't realize that there are possibilities out there."

Michael knows that he is talking to people who are at very low point in their life; sometimes at the end of their rope.  Those are the times when he goes the extra mile; whatever it takes.  Like the call from the 87 year old woman who was looking for food.

Michael;  "She told me she had two cans of vegetables and four pieces of bread left.  Oh, that just struck my heart.  So, I reached out to some of the churches in the area to see if I could find a volunteer who would take her some food."

There were food pantries to help but she was homebound and had no way to get to that food.  Michael reached out to churches near her to find a kind soul to get her immediate help and then connected her to the council on aging.

Michael;  "She was able to get some assistance and get stable again.  I still talk to her from time to time.  She's a real sweetheart."

"Well, we don't want to rush you, O.K.  All right.  You're welcome.  Let's go ahead and start off with the resource that may be able to help with rent."

Andrea;  "Every day when I walk in, I can be assured that Mike is going to be the one with a smile, the very happy quality in his voice, the true concern and advocate for whoever calls in."
  
And the calls keep coming.  Mike keeps answering ...  With that smile, compassion, listening ... To someone in crisis, he's ready with an answer and ...

Michael;  "Hope; it's a very important part of life."
"Well, thank you so much for calling United Way 2-1-1.  Please don't hesitate to call us back anytime, O.K."

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.

Angels in our Midst (Michael "Jake" Martin, United Way 2-1-1 Operator)


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