She’s Not Afraid to Try

Aug 6, 2018 | Turning Point

 
Coby Watier created a simple formula that generated two turning points in her life: See the need, fill the need.  

Coby says she has volunteered most of her adult life — as a Girl Scout leader and in youth ministry. So the day she was driving down Highway 150 in Indiana and saw the sign ‘Volunteer Firefighters Needed’ in front of the Greenville fire station, she barely thought twice and applied.

“That was four years ago. For a while, I was the only woman at the station, but right now we have five or six female volunteer firefighters. I had to put in a certain number of training hours at the station and learn certain procedures — obstacle training, understanding how a fire spreads, and how to attack a certain type of fire. I am also EMT trained to assess and sometimes help transport a victim.”

The two Greenville Township Volunteer Fire Department stations also serve the communities of Galena and Navilleton.

Coby’s innate passion for serving others made it easy for her to take on this role as a volunteer firefighter with the Greenville Township Volunteer Fire Department.

 

 

“We don’t just respond to fires,” Coby says. “We go on a lot of motor vehicle accident calls and have the heavy equipment to extract the driver or passengers from a wreck. We sometimes respond to ice fishing mishaps or hazmat situations. And there are many medical emergencies and drug overdoses. We have to know how to respond and how to administer Narcan (a nasal spray that counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose). As firefighters, we often are the first responders to medical emergencies.”
 
Coby, who lives in Greenville, the community she serves, uses an app on her phone to be notified of the calls that come into the station, and if on call or available, she will respond. She also puts her weekly availability on the station’s schedule.

When Coby gets the call, she heads to the station and suits up.

“I wear my full gear on every call — coat, pants, gloves, mask, and oxygen tank. I never know what I am going to run into even on a medical emergency. I might have to cut through bushes, fend off dogs, deal with the cold, and there is always the danger of simply slipping on ice or mud and falling. The suit offers lots of protective padding.”

In her spare time, Coby enjoys Argentine Tango dancing which she does regularly with friends.
As a volunteer, she commits to 32 hours on duty a month. This could include not only emergency responses but also training sessions and community service projects. She also now interviews prospective volunteers and serves on the board.

Another need Coby saw led her to becoming one of the founders of My Health E, a non-profit patient advocacy and education website launched in January 2018 and she now serves as patient advocate, director of business development. After spending almost two decades as a pharmaceutical rep, she came to realize that if a patient needed to search online for health information, she had to research many separate sites.

 
“Patients don’t always know where to go to find local healthcare information. I saw how many patients needed help and education including even how to get financial assistance or how to take their medication. That was the impetus to start the website. It gives a patient a central place to access local health and wellness education events.”

The site currently covers events in Kentucky and Indiana and is growing, Coby says. The site also provides links to an alphabetized list of a host of health information websites ranging from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to the Skin Cancer Foundation to tai chi classes.

 
Coby now dedicates her time to building the information on the website by engaging large organizations to upload patient education events, health fairs, and seminars. Health education events are provided by advocacy groups, community outreach, government, hospitals, and others.

If we take away anything from Coby’s turning points it would be to not be afraid to try something even though you won’t know what to expect. And could possibly fail.

“I tell my daughter that Thomas Edison didn’t just wake up one day and create the light bulb. There were hundreds of failures before the success. Failure can be a good thing. It’s OK not to succeed every time. That paves the path to success.”

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