Giving His Best Every Day
Focused on sanitation and providing a safe environment for patients, visitors and staff, Reggie Tyson has an important role in the Environmental Services (EVS) department of Southeast Georgia Health System. A few stanzas from a poem often attributed to Mother Teresa sum up his philosophy of life:
Do It Anyway
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
The poem goes on to say:
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final
analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Unlike the people mentioned in the poem, anyone who encounters Tyson in the hospital halls does not forget him. “Reggie is the epitome of a frontline team member. He is one of the first faces people may see when they enter the building. He loves talking to people and making them feel welcomed,” says Shawn Jubuisson, director of Environmental Services.
Beyond ensuring that the hospital entryways are clean, Tyson is a goodwill ambassador. “If someone is sad or unkind, it makes me try even harder to be as kind as I can be. If someone doesn’t speak when I greet them, I speak anyway. How do I deal with grumpy people? I put out what I want to get back. I want to be a spirit lifter and make people happy,” Tyson says.
The Youngest Helper
Some people enter the world determined to serve others. Outward circumstances have little to do with their innate generosity. Born the youngest of nine children in Waycross, Georgia, Tyson never met his father. His mother died when he was 12. From the age of six, he remembers waking up early on Saturday mornings and leaving the house to rake neighbor’s yards. With a little change in his pocket, he would return home, gather his siblings and make a trip to the store. “We’d buy candy and popcorn and go home and watch movies,” Tyson says.
Spreading the Love
From childhood to adulthood, Tyson has treated others as he wished to be treated. While working as a City of Brunswick Sanitation Supervisor, he inspired crews to give their best. “My bosses asked, ‘How did you get them to do that?’ and I’d say, ‘I show them a lot of love.’ When someone shows you love, it makes a big difference,” Tyson says.
Interacting with the public all day can be trying, especially during a pandemic when tensions run high. Tyson remains unruffled. “I pray and ask the Lord to guide me. I even love my enemies.”
The Go-to Guy
It’s hard to imagine Tyson having enemies. Around the hospital, everyone looks forward to seeing him. Supervisors call him the “go-to guy.” For the last 11 years, he has worked in different departments across the Brunswick Campus. “If they need floors buffed, carpets cleaned, trash emptied or supplies delivered, I give it my best so people will say ‘That’s a Reggie job.’”
Jubuisson knows a “Reggie job” when he sees one. “He is one of the very few people you don’t have to follow-up on to see if the job was completed. With Reggie having supervisor experience, he has been someone we rely on to fill the many holes we have on a daily basis. I am so proud to have him as part of our staff, especially during this pandemic. We’ve faced challenges, not only as a department but as a health system. Reggie has been a big part of seeing us through. We appreciate everything Reggie has and will continue to do for our organization.”
Working as a Family
Even as a self-described “neat freak,” Tyson says that keeping up with strict cleaning and safety protocols during the pandemic has not been easy. His versatile experience means that he is asked to help in many different areas. He maintains perspective by remembering what he heard at his employee orientation in Human Resources. “Ms. Angelynn Thomas helped me understand the Health System mission and values. She told me to learn everything I could about the hospital.”
For Tyson, the personal aspects of work overlap with the professional. “Here at Southeast Georgia Health System, we try to be like a family,” Tyson says. That philosophy led him to hug his director on a particularly difficult day. When Jubuisson asked, “How did you know I needed that?” Tyson replied, “I saw the expression on your face.”
Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead
Tyson believes the coronavirus has lessons to teach us about the importance of cleanliness and consideration for others. “Let’s stick to cleanliness and be more careful. If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re out and you cough, cough into your sleeve.”
Even as his department shoulders the daily responsibility of keeping the hospital clean and safe during a pandemic, Tyson remains hopeful about the future. “I love traveling. I’ve visited several different countries and I’m ready to go again!”
Though so much is uncertain today, one thing is for sure. Whether Reggie Tyson travels close to home or across the globe, he spreads kindness and love wherever he goes.
To support your community hospital during this difficult time, call Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation at 912-466-3360.
Today’s Frontline Heroes is sponsored by Southeast Georgia Health System. Visit their website at sghs.org.