Julie, Kalamazoo

Storyteller: Paige Timpe 

Julie is a 44-year-old woman who works for Mall City Mechanical in Kalamazoo, Michigan where she is a Human Resources Director. She spends her days at work handling recruitment, employment policies, training, and oversees the workplace safety. Along with her job, Julie is also a mother to 3 teenage boys which may be a handful at times. 

Julie first heard about COVID-19 from her sons as they saw information on social media relating to it. During the pandemic, her day-to-day life has changed in many ways. Her job became very difficult as she had to write a policy for covid to protect her workforce when they went out on jobs. Along with being very busy at work, she had to focus her attention on her kids that had to do all their schooling from home. With three teenage sons, she worried about them not waking up on time for their zoom classes and being productive with their schoolwork while there was no one there such as a teacher to hold them accountable. COVID-19 brought many challenges to the table, but one thing that Julie gained from covid is more money through stimulus checks “that she didn’t earn” and “10 pounds.” 

During COVID-19 Julie lost a very close family friend to COVID-19 which makes it feel extremely real when it takes someone so close to you. She also lost major respect for all news media.  

In her job she deals with all the COVID-19 related investigations and contact tracing for the workforce. In her experience, she found that most people wanted to do the right thing and protect others. This made her job a lot easier when people followed the rules and guidelines she put in place. 

A funny experience that Julie had was when she traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada in early March of 2020 for a girl’s weekend.  They debated about canceling but decided to go.  A few days after their return, Michigan was shut down. Julie and her friends thought for sure they were patient zero. 

Overall, the COVID-19 Pandemic taught Julie that you cannot live in fear.  Everyone must accept our changing world and figure out how to live in it.  People cannot dwell on what is lost but look towards where we can go from here. 

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