Heather Hart // Employee Emergency Fund

Most employees know Heather’s smiling face from the Reid at Home store where she worked in the Outpatient Care Center for four years.  But last year, Heather faced some family issues that would challenge her family and her smile.

Heather’s mother, Donna, had a fall that led to complications.  On Wednesday, June 25, Donna was admitted to Reid with jaundice, hepatitis and several infections.  “Her ammonia levels were out of control,” Heather said.  Things spiraled quickly and by the following Monday Heather applied for FMLA.  “I knew my dad couldn’t do this alone.”

In the mean time, Heather’s grandmother was also admitted to Reid. She had heart issues that required cardiac ablation for arrhythmia.  When surgery was over, she suffered pneumonia and was on a vent for a week.  Heather went back and forth between her mother and grandmother, helping make necessary decisions about their care.

A week later, the doctors let Heather and Chuck know their 49-year-old mother and wife would likely not make it.

Over the next few weeks, Heather’s grandmother was moved to an extended care facility.  Donna saw improvements and declines.  She was home and then readmitted, and finally sent to IU Medical Center.  “We weren’t ready to give up,” Heather said.  Unfortunately, three weeks later, Donna passed away.

The expected two weeks of FMLA turned into seven, but Heather knew her father needed help and support.  “It’s good to have more than one person making decisions,” Heather said.  “We are a family and this is what we do.”

Heather used her PDOs and her husband gave up overtime opportunities to help with the family and care for their two young children.  When given the offer to apply for the Employee Emergency Fund, Heather was relieved to know there was financial assistance.  “It’s great that I can work for a place that recognizes sometimes things happen,” she said.  “When you can’t work, you still have to make a house payment and feed kids.  It was one less thing I had to worry about.”

The help didn’t stop with the Employee Emergency Fund.  One employee lent Heather a hybrid vehicle to drive back and forth to Indianapolis to save gas costs.  Her coworkers pitched in to help with hotels and meals.  “Everybody was absolutely fantastic,” Heather said.

Now Heather is back to work, but filling a different role in the Home Medical Equipment office.  She comes to work at Reid with a renewed appreciation and a desire to help others.  Mostly, she is thankful for people who cared during her time of need.

“My mom was a fantastic woman.  She was beautiful inside and out,” said Heather.  “Being able to spend the last month and a half with her was amazing,” said Heather.

We invite you to help employees like Heather through the unforeseen circumstances of life.  From travel expenses for a funeral to recovery from a fire, the Employee Emergency Fund is there for those who truly need help.