Friday, August 9, 2013

A package deal


STAMPED WITH A SMILE: Gaboriault, left, sorting mail with Currie.


This is not a routine traffic stop. Whirling through the halls of Ellison 16, a motorized wheelchair is pulled over by Police and Security. The man using the wheelchair, with a megawatt grin, is Kevin Currie, an MGH Mail Services volunteer, and the traffic stop is just another practical joke concocted by his adoring coworkers. It is evidence of the growing circle of friends Currie has cultivated during his seven years as a volunteer at the hospital.

“Everyone knows Kevin – it is incredible. If you go through this hospital – security, the cafeteria staff, the people in the food line – I’ve been here 32 years, and I don’t know half of these people,” says David Gaboriault, an associate in Mail Services. “And they’re saying, ‘Hi Kevin. How are you Kevin?’ It’s just amazing.”

“When I first started working here I didn’t know anyone,” says Currie. “Now I’m getting to know the whole hospital.”

Gaboriault and Currie are in a way a union of opposites. One is a fan of Broadway, the other a sports aficionado with the license plates of nearly every Boston team posted on his wheelchair. The two met last spring when Currie – then a volunteer for the Thyroid Department – was picking up mail. “He asked a lot of questions and seemed inquisitive about Mail Services so I said, ‘Do you want to volunteer?’” says Gaboriault.

In addition to his physical disability, Currie also is legally blind with virtually no peripheral vision, but – undaunted by physical limitations – he quickly learned the ins and outs of the department and soon earned his nickname, “The Kevin Express.”

“He delivers packages, all patient mail, return-to-sender items and sorts mail in the Wang building,” says Gaboriault. “Kevin will do anything. He gives 100 percent. It’s amazing to be with someone who is always smiling, has a great attitude and wants to help.”

“And I jumped at the opportunity,” exclaims Currie.


LICENSE TO MAIL: Currie on his delivery route

Jim Burns, CMDSM, EMCM, Linen and Mail Services supervisor, credits Gaboriault with being a friend and mentor to Currie, whom they all consider to be a core member of their team. “To see David take the time to allow Kevin to contribute on a regular basis is remarkable. They have formed a unique and special friendship. They complete all their daily work assignments keeping each other focused on the task at hand. David and Kevin also have lunch together a few times a week.”

Last October, Currie received a 4,000-hour pin in recognition of his hours of volunteer service, and he already is close to 6,000 hours. A few weeks ago, Burns received a letter from Currie while he was away at a week-long camp in Connecticut. In it Currie joked, “Let’s hope I have my job when I get back.”

“All joking aside, we want Kevin to stay for a long, long time,” Burns says. “He is a valued member of the team and makes life easier for everyone.” 

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