Women at Work: Supporting coworkers during times of tragedy

Tragically, the news in Rochester and surrounding areas have been peppered with vehicle accidents, and not too many have had happy endings.

Last Thursday was no different as I read about two more horrendous accidents, one on U.S. Highway 63 and the other on U.S. Highway 52 by the Interstate 90 overpass. That evening, our daughter walked through the door and said, "Mom, Brady was in one of those accidents."

I remember a feeling of nausea wash through me as I thought of Bailey, her parents, Micki and Tom, and the rest of their family as I scrambled through the news postings to look again. I always feel bad when I see news of accidents, but when you know the family, there are a whole new set of concerns involved.

Brady's mom, Micki, has rarely left her son's side in more than a week, so how does she handle her job? Micki works at Traditions of Preston, an assisted-living center for independent seniors. Any business finds she is a huge asset as she doesn't cover just one job function, she covers multiple. Her flexibility in duties range from cooking to working with the residents by giving medications, baths and playing games with them. When she isn't busy interacting with the residents, she is cooking or working in the office. The residents love her and her co-workers find her a great teammate. I asked Micki how she is handling her absences from work, and she gratefully told me, "Everyone has just taken over what I normally do, and they said do not worry about a thing."

For a woman who holds a job but who also has a son fighting for his life, this comment relieves a very heavy weight off one's shoulders. I could not imagine worrying about my job in this type of situation.


Bailey is 19 years old and holds a job at Traditions as well. In addition, she also attends school in Rochester and is a member of the Minnesota National Guard. For a week, she has stood by her big brother's side almost constantly, anxiously awaiting doctors' rounds and news on his prognosis. Like mother, like daughter, she is a valuable member of the Traditions team, and her duties have been picked up by others.

With work worries behind her, Bailey then spoke with her teachers about handling this absence. She is incredibly thankful that each of her teachers is supporting her and helping her stay caught up or will catch her up when she is ready to return.

Bailey also serves our country as a member of the Minnesota National Guard and recently completed her Advanced Individual Training. My first thoughts were that missing her weekend with the Army never would be possible. You have to be an incredible, outstanding woman to make it up and down the road, which is what they are allowing her to do.

As you can imagine, along with their work supporting these two fine women, the community has shown an outpour of caring through donations, food, prayers and thoughts. The waiting room is a rotating door of visitors offering help in many forms. To see women rallying behind other women at a time like this is amazing, to say the least.

Brady has a long road ahead of him, and his journey back to health won't be easy. In fact, he still is in an induced coma and the extent of his injuries remain unknown.

Thankfully, these two women know they have jobs waiting for them, and when the time is right, they will be welcomed back with a full workload to be done.

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