For the last 6 weeks, David Skeels of Indianapolis has spent 12 hours a day volunteering in the vaccine clinic at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville, miles from his home and his family.
“It feels like we’re serving a mission for the hospital and the country,” Skeels told 44News.
When COVID-19 hit, Skeels wanted to help. He was inspired by his wife, who used to work as a nurse, and his two daughters. His youngest daughter is in medical school and his oldest daughter lives in New York City, volunteering in vaccine clinics herself.
Skeels wanted to dedicate his time to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital. After seeing the need for volunteers in Evansville, he packed up and headed out.
"I discussed it with my family and said, 'I'd like to make a big commitment, let's get the country out of this pandemic,” Skeels said.
As a retired consultant, traveling for work is nothing new. Staying in Evansville for weeks at a time, David worked 46 double shifts for Ascension St. Vincent.
Kelly Paul, the COVID Vaccine Clinic Manager for Ascension St. Vincent - Evansville, said Skeels is always going above and beyond. "It'll be really weird tomorrow morning when I come into work and he is not here because he's been kind of my right-hand man this whole time. I just can count on him to do anything."
Registering the community for their shots, Skeels met a lot of people. One patient, in particular, sticking in his mind. "She paused and then kinda teared up and said, 'Thank you for being here. I lost my husband in October to COVID.' It was a touching moment, it got me choked up a little bit,” Skeels said.
"These are the people that haven't seen their grandkids for a year or over a year. We've seen grandma and grandpa high-five each other, give each other hugs. You only need to see one or two of those to know it's making a difference in people's lives,” said Skeels.
April 16th is David’s last day volunteering in Evansville. Saying goodbye to his new friends, David is heading back to Indianapolis on Saturday, eager to see his family.
"It really hasn't felt like much work at all. The volunteers I've met... I've got a lot of new friends. I'm gonna be sad to leave. It's gonna be hard to leave,” Skeels told 44News.