Palmyra employees give sick time to coworker in need

Coworkers donated more than 600 paid time off hours to Sims so she could take care of herself and still get an income / Sarah Bleau

Employees at Palmyra Medical Center are taking their job to care for patients and expanding it to care for each other. Ten employees in the Food Services department recently donated more than 600 of their paid time off hours to a coworker in need.

Felicia Sims â" a cook at the hospital â" took time off after losing her baby during birth last December. Now 30 weeks pregnant, she is faced with medical conditions that force her to take even more time off.

"I spend a lot of time in and out of the hospital," says Sims.

In August, her coworkers took notice of her struggle.

"While approving time I noticed that Felicia was getting low on her hours and in looking at how her time was going to run out I was trying to figure out what could we do to help her," says Willaveeta Kearson, administrative assistant at Palmyra Food Services.

The solution: Sims' fellow employees in the Food Services department took their paid time off and donated it to her. It means she can take care of her health and still have an income.

"She didn't want to ask for any help then and we all pitched in then and helped her so when she got pregnant this time we were going to do all it took to make her have this baby one way or another," says Tammy Lamb, cook at Palmyra.

Sims says her coworkers always call and text to see how she is doing and offer help, but this was overwhelming for her.

"I never had anybody to do this much. People don't understand: It's a lot. PTO hours, you talk about the dollar amount, it's a lot," she says. "By them donating -- you know how the economy is and they could just take it for their own family -- they think enough of me to donate to me. It just makes my heart melt."

Her coworkers say they continue to give more of their hours to Sims as they accumulate more and she runs out.

"The heartwarming, the good sense of feeling just to do something for somebody and know you've done good for a long time and that's just the satisfaction you get," says Angela Hunter, cook at Palmyra.

"You got people out there that just stand around and beg for money, and next thing you know they're at the liquor store or buying cigarettes. You know with someone like this you're doing a good cause. She needs it and we're always there for her," says Lamb.

It's a cause Sims says has lifted a weight off her shoulder, having the time and money to take care of herself, her 11 year old daughter and her unborn child.

"It's just overwhelming I can't say enough. I can't say thank you enough. There's nothing I can really do that can be just so appreciative of everything they have done," says Sims.

Sims says she's expecting her new baby Jan. 25, 2011.

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