Letter from Dr. Ehab Kamarah

As the university welcomes students back to on-campus learning, we again recognize the efforts of those like our building service workers, who adjust to new challenges brought by the response to the pandemic, and other staff who stayed on the front lines even during the height of stay-at-home orders. Properly and safely running essential services across campus had to continue.

from L: Brian Barto, Mark Barcus, Dave Boehm, Lucas Burton, Vinh Nguyen, Bryan Helfrich, Dr. Ehab Kamarah, Matt Dalton

And yet our staff continue to delight and demonstrate pride and humanity more each day. I hope you take the time to read the story of Vinh Nguyen, one of our water station operators, who fell victim to a life-threatening emergency, and how his coworkers helped save his life. I want to recognize these F&S heroes: A fellow water station operator Brian Barto acted quickly and bravely in a traumatic situation, and carpenters Lucas Burton and Bryan Helfrich selflessly gave their time and efforts to help first responders, two UIPD officers Jason Bradley and Rodney Mitchell, before EMTs arrived to get Nguyen to the hospital.

Incredibly, Nguyen has recovered and is even back at work. His first action was to professionally and publicly thank and recognize Barto and the rest for saving his life, recognizing the gratitude felt by his family. This event only furthers my appreciation for our workforce, and their vital role in protecting the health and success of the campus and its students, faculty, and staff every day. Sometimes, in ways you don’t expect.

~ Dr. Ehab Kamarah, interim executive director of F&S, director of Capital Programs

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