Biomedical and Technical Services Coordinator, Cox Monett
James “Chewy” Vroman is a man who brings a knack for creative problem solving to all of his efforts. From building robots to computer programming in his spare time, he’s always looking for a way to make things work. As the coordinator for Biomedical and Technical Services at Cox Monett, he says he never knows what he’ll wind up fixing during the course of the day.
During last summer’s CARDIAC Kids events, Chewy stepped in to meet a need by providing computers, printers and logistical support for the public celebrations. The Kohl’s CARDIAC Kids program provides free screenings, entertainment, and health and wellness information for area children. Last year’s events – held at the fairgrounds in Monett and Kohl’s in Springfield – drew more than 500 children.
Organizers were looking for a way to set up computers and printers for data entry and Chewy had a solution. Using eight de-commissioned computers and two printers, he set up a peer-to-peer network that allowed organizers to quickly enter height, weight and other measurements into a spreadsheet that could be printed out for parents.
He says: “We just improvised with what we had to work with and we were able to do it with no cost for the hardware.”
But his gift for problem solving didn’t stop there. He helped set up both events – providing an air compressor to inflate basketballs, building storage containers for sports equipment, and bringing safety supplies such as cots and first-aid kits.
Wellness educator Lauren Holland nominated Chewy for his eagerness to step up and make things happen. She says: “He was a real team player. This program - wasn't something that Chewy had to do, but something he chose to help with. His dedication and quick thinking helped not only CoxHealth but the families in the community.”
Chewy has been displaying that teamwork and inventiveness at Cox Monett since he joined the organization in early 2001. His mother has worked at Cox Monett for more than 25 years and he’d always been interested in the variety of work that takes place in a health care setting. And he was eager to take on the challenges.
He says: “I’m an electronics technician by trade, but I love the diversity. You never know what you’ll get into each day. I like a challenge – if you tell me something is impossible, you have my interest.”
Recently, he’s handled big challenges: repairing the overhead doors in the ER bays and replacing the desks of the nurses’ station in the ER. And small challenges: fixing a weather radio and repairing a phone jack that a patient bed had banged into.
Things that may be well-worn are never quite worn out when Chewy is nearby. The cash register in the gift shop, for example, uses an ink roller that is no longer made. A new register will be installed soon, but in the meantime, Chewy found a way to add ink to the old roller to get a little more life out of it.
As they gear up for this year’s CARDIAC Kids events, he’s working on ways to make improvements, including testing out a remote server that will allow kids and parents to fill out information from their phones or other mobile devices. He even has a plan for a way to make the server fun: he’ll house it inside a wheeled robot that he has kept stashed in the basement at Cox Monett. The robot was a fixture at Cox events in the 1980s and Chewy sees a chance to give it a facelift and a new life with CARDIAC Kids.
When he found out he had received the prestigious partners award for his efforts, he said he laughed and asked, “for what?” “This is really important for the kids and we just got out there an did it. It was just a lot of fun!”