The first day of class can be intimidating for most people, but for Karla Furnari it was especially so. “The professors at A-B Tech have been wonderful and I feel confident in driving an ambulance because of them… They did not shy away from the scary information,” says the Recreation Services Planner of her introduction to ambulance driving. Karla is one of many Buncombe County employees embracing their reassignments as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even though I have doubts, I am glad I was chosen for this position. I feel I have the ability to adapt in a crisis, and I know I will do everything I can to help the paramedic I will be working with when the time comes.”
Recreation Services Program Manager Lynn Pegg also transitioned and immediately made herself an asset in the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). “Being in the hub of activities has been stressful at times, but the people I’m working with are all trained to be calm and reassuring, so that has helped,” explains Lynn. “Things happen and change quickly with this pandemic, and you have to be able to think quickly on your feet. I’ve also learned that one person doesn’t have all the answers, it truly takes many people and ideas to make things happen.”
In addition to lending a hand to immediate emergency operations, Karla and Lynn have also been helping with food distribution and coordinating in-kind donations. “Employees of Buncombe County are pretty amazing. We are all willing to help even if we have no clue what we are about to do,” says Karla. While Lynn wasn’t exactly sure what she would be doing, there was no doubt she was committed to getting the job done. “I think my ability to be flexible and adapt to changing situations as they occur has been an asset,” notes Lynn. “Public service means staying informed about the situation and sharing true facts back to the community.”
The Recreation Services team, like all the County’s repurposed employees, have not only brought a high level of competency, but an earnest willingness to help out wherever they are needed. Karla says while she gravitates toward her work, she ultimately got into public service to help the community: “I feel proud to be able to step up and jump into the unknown with some of my coworkers. This pandemic is uncharted territory. This is what public service means to me. Doing what I need to do in order to keep our community healthy and safe.” Lynn notes her work in the EOC has showcased multiple organizations’ abilities to be flexible and adapt to where the response is needed. “I’ve been able to experience both school systems join together to make face shields on 3-D printers from the schools. I’ve seen manufacturing companies switch from their usual production to start making items of need to fight this virus. I’ve met and worked with many new people, and I am honored to be positioned with them during this pandemic,” exclaims Lynn.
Buncombe County thanks Karla and Lynn for selflessly and eagerly adapting to their repurposed roles.