MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Delivery drivers have been essential frontline workers during the pandemic; ensuring people get their mail, presents around the holidays, PPE and medicine.
Through it all, there are four senior delivery drivers tasked with bringing medicine to the most vulnerable people living in assisted living facilities.
Albert Bates, Danny McNeely, Stephen Phillips and Larry Moffitt have done it all despite being a part of the group considered most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. All are over the age of 65.
“These four have a heart of gold," Curt Bicknell said.
Bicknell is the president of Guardian Pharmacy Mid-South, a pharmacy located in Bartlett that delivers medicine specifically to assisted living facilities such as nursing homes and mental health residences.
He said at the start of the pandemic and as it dragged on he expected and planned on the retirees, turned delivery drivers, to say they were no longer comfortable coming to work.
"But we got the exact opposite," Bicknell said. "All of them four said, 'No, we’re in this. These are our people. These are not just our customers we have relationships on the ground with the residents, nurses.' They didn’t give it a second thought."
Despite being at risk, they drive as far as 100 miles a day making deliveries to facilities.
“Somebody had to do it," Moffitt said. "I don’t know anybody here who even thought about not doing it. I mean it’s just what we do.”
All four men said the thought of not working, even during a pandemic, was never a thought.
“It was really just a matter of duty and responsibility," Phillips said. "I take my job seriously and I want to make sure we do a good service to all of our residents.”
The men no longer see and talk to the residents they've become familiar with over the years. They miss that part of the job but they said the work is still gratifying.
“It kind of amazes me the kind of work that we do," McNeely said. "We’ll just touch so many people and nurses too because they’re just desperate for some of [the medicine]. 'I’ve got sick people I’ve got to have it' and you show up and they’re excited.”
“I still enjoy going out. Meeting people and doing things for people and helping people out when I can,” says Albert Bates.
Guardian Pharmacy Mid-South serves 3,500 residents. Bicknell said they hope and expect to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines to the facilities in January.
An honor for each of the men to take part in.
“It means a lot because that’s the way we get a handle on this pandemic and we start to eradicate it," Phillips said.