Teleworking during the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order can be challenging. You need to stay on task to meet deadlines, but at the same time, you’re juggling childcare, shifting household responsibilities and managing your health during this trying time.Continue Reading
If you work for Mecklenburg County, it’s your job to give excellent customer service. And that’s what Park Ranger Doug Brown has been doing for the past 9 months. He was hired by Park and Recreation and says he loves his job.
“Doing this job, I love it. I love being out here… I can say one of the best jobs I’ve honestly had,” said Brown, “I’m just doing my job walking around, talking to people, making sure everything is good to go in these parks.”
Brown gave an interview to WBTV News because of one specific person he talked to during his regular rounds. The interview was from a park bench along Lake Wylie at McDowell Nature Preserve. He patrols several parks regularly. He has a truck for work, but he also goes on foot.
“I usually get out and I walk on some of these trails. Usually, see somebody sitting out here, or sitting out on the nature center side. I speak to them,” said Brown, “Like to make sure everyone has a great day.”
A Listening Ear
“I like standing down here, looking at the water and I just got this vibe that something was wrong that he was upset about something. He wasn’t saying anything. So, when I came down, I speak to him, ‘Hi sir, How are you doing to today?’ I remember him cause I’ve spoken to him before. I spoke to him and he was just real short, he didn’t seem agitated, but he was short with his answers. And I was like, Hey man, is everything okay? Do you want to talk?’”
“He was like, ‘You know what everything is not alright.’ I was like, ‘I don’t have a problem listening. If you want to talk to me, you’re more than welcome.’ So, I sat down and he sat down next to me. And I started talking about how good God has been for me. And told him about some of the positive things that have happened in my life.”
“Slowly, I could see that his demeanor started to change. He went from being sad and upset to being kind of bright and being open. I told him no matter what it is there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. You may have to go through some storms and battle some waves, but believe me, trust me, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel no matter where you are, no matter what day it is,” said Brown.
An Email Arrives
Brown knew he had helped, but he didn’t realize how much. The man he spoke to wrote an email to WBTV News.
“I’d first like to start off by saying that the individual I’d like to recognize, saved my life. Although he didn’t physically save my life, he did so by talking and listening to me,” wrote the man.
In his email, he details how upset he was when he spoke to the Park Ranger.
“I’m alive today because of a person named Douglas Brown. Doug is a Park Ranger for Mecklenburg County. I had been going through a rough patch in my life and considered suicide on several occasions. One time, I was at McDowell Nature Preserve and sadly it was going to be my last day here on earth and I couldn’t take it anymore. I hadn’t told anybody, so nobody knew.”
“Now, this Park Ranger, Doug, always spoke to me, always was friendly, always was willing to help someone out however he could. We had spoken on many different occasions at different parks around the area, and he knew I was going through some things. However, he didn’t know I was going to end it all right there that day. And him just talking to me, seems like it was his calling because after he finished, I had a clear head. I went and got some professional help as well.”
Doug’s supervisor, Alex Rohleder, told him about the email.
“I was shocked. It made me happy inside knowing that I stopped someone from potentially ending their life that day just by talking to him. All in all, I’m a friendly person with everybody, but hearing the news from my supervisor, I almost broke down. That’s amazing. Thank God I was there at that time talking to him and now he’s here with us today,” said Brown.
The email had more kind words, “Maybe it’s his calling to help people. But I definitely want people to know what kind of young hero he is,” he wrote.
A Team of Helpers
Alex Rohleder says he is proud of Doug Brown. He adds Brown is not unique. The men and women, who are on his team, care about the community, are passionate about it and give excellent customer service. Brown agrees.
“It’s a family. We’re just one big family here,” said Brown. He adds the thanks shouldn’t be for him. It should be for the man who wrote WBTV News.
“Thank you for at least allowing me to talk to him, to allow me to change his mind about what was going to happen that day,” said Brown, “And thank you, apparently he went and got some help, thank you for doing that. A lot of people struggle, but if you reach out and seek help, you reach out and you’re appreciative about it, the only thing I can tell you is thank you so much.”
If you need someone to listen, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
Let’s face it: You can be five or 95…at any age, playing is fun. But, for some people, it’s much more.
Did you know that Mecklenburg County’s Park & Recreation department has Therapeutic and Inclusive Recreation Services? I didn’t – and I had to ask what it means. Here’s what I found out: recreational therapists use activities to help those with illnesses or disabling conditions participate fully and independently in chosen life pursuits and goals.Continue Reading
After nearly 15 years as a human resources (HR) professional, Darcia Sanders had reached a plateau in her career. The opportunities for growth and development were unpromising. Her husband suggested they embrace the change of direction their life was taking, and explore opportunities in Charlotte. After some research, the “rich history, stability and endless possibilities” with the County made accepting an offer to work here an easy decision for her.Continue Reading
We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There’s a reason for that! Good nutrition is vital to good health and disease prevention. And it’s essential to “growing up big and strong” as my grandmother used to say. Eating nutritious foods (along with a little exercise, of course) can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Those are some of the leading causes of death in our County and the country.
Seems easy enough, right? If I eat healthy food, I will be healthier. But it’s not that simple. Not everyone has access to healthy food. I know! It’s hard to believe that in 2020, there are people in our community who don’t have access to a grocery store to get the foods they need to live healthy lives.
An Idea is Planted
Reggie Singleton, one of Public Health’s policy coordinators, was inspired by the fruit tree orchards he grew up with in the Sea Islands of Charleston, SC. He suggested partnering with other community organizations to install orchards and a system for distributing the food to the communities with food insecurity. And the Edible Landscape Project was born!
Signs of Success
With support and partnership from community organizations, Public Health has established four orchards at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Rockwell AME Zion Church, Reeder Memorial Baptist Church, Faith CME Church. The orchards produce plums, figs, pears, peaches and persimmons. They have even expanded to plant seasonal herbs and vegetables like squash, string beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Neighbors harvest, process and distribute food to nearby community members directly or through the church food pantry. To date, their efforts have supplied fresh, nutritious food to over 25,000 people in the County. Here’s a look inside how the orchards work.
Earlier this year, the Edible Landscapes Project received a Best In Category award from the National Association of Counties. This project combined with farmers markets and healthy corner stores is helping communities get better access to healthy food.
You’ve heard us say it before, but we’ll say it again – there are so many career paths and opportunities within the County, many of which you probably never thought would fall under the category of a “government job.” Take animation, for example. Did you ever think you could come to the County to create cartoons?
Of course, the answer is that you CAN!Continue Reading
You probably know that there are a few law enforcement agencies in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area – there’s the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, local town police departments, and of course, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office (that’s our partner).
When you think of these agencies and those who work to keep our community safe, chances are you think of the people who respond to your calls for service and patrol your neighborhoods. But, it’s not just humans who wear a badge – dogs do too!Continue Reading
“You can tell from my job history, this is the work I’m meant to do. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling.”
That’s how Ana Souare feels about her job as a management analyst with the Department of Social Services (DSS), Youth and Family Services (YFS) Division. But finding her calling didn’t happen right away. In fact, it’s the fourth position she’s been in since coming to work for the County 11 years ago.Continue Reading
“Our greatest asset.”
That’s how County Manager Dena R. Diorio describes Mecklenburg County employees.
We know how hard our employees work to provide the best services possible to our residents, so each year we host an awards ceremony to recognize those who have gone above and beyond. And trust us, it’s not easy to choose! There are so many talented employees within our organization and each one of them truly helps us make an impact on the lives of those we serve.Continue Reading
According to Jacob Allman, his family is what inspires him to come to work every day. In fact, he got his start in his career because of his dad’s influence as a brick mason. All of that exposure to the construction industry from hanging out with his dad on jobs led him to a degree in construction management. Fast forward a few years and a few jobs to his current role with the County as a Code Enforcement Official with the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) – he’s right where he belongs!Continue Reading