The real measure of a hero is someone who never wanted to be or even considered themselves a hero but nonetheless finds themselves selflessly answering the call and rising to the challenge to make the world a safer place for the rest of us. In today’s COVID-19 shelter in place world, superheroes no longer wear capes and cowls, swing from buildings, have superpowers or fly around the galaxy in starships defeating evil Sith Lords.
Nowadays, Super Heroes look just like the rest of us. They all have growing families, mortgages, student loans, car payments, and every other problem the rest of us face from day today. But what sets them apart and what makes them worthy of our collective awe, praise, and special thanks, along with the title of “Super Hero”, is the fact that they are all on the front lines of the current Coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the entire world.
This new breed of “Super Hero” doesn’t wear capes, they wear pastel-colored medical scrubs, gloves, facemasks, or they wear blue t-shirts with EMT logos on them, along with gloves and facemasks. Sometimes they even were army fatigues and medical scrubs, and sometimes they wear police shields, and their space ships are Fire trucks and ambulances.
Today, SciFiPulse and everyone else within our beautiful science fiction community takes a moment to recognize just a few Sci-Fi fans who like the rest of us love Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and all of the other space operas, along with all related genres such as horror, anime, comics, superheroes, cosplay, steampunk, and every other geeky and nerd loving aspect of what makes us all beautiful loving genre fans, with one exception; they are stepping up EVERYDAY and facing a fearsome unseen foe who scares the hell out of the rest of us!
At the end of the day, this article’s focus is to simply say “Thank You” to all of those beautiful Sci-Fi nerds, geeks and fans, who are putting their lives on the line for the rest of us! Nothing more and nothing less. Just a small bit of recognition to one of those who is just one member of all of today’s heroes!
Alex Brown, is an officer in the South Carolina National Guard, a staff nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC.
Interestingly, when I reached out to Alex he said he was just doing his job and didn’t consider himself a hero. The only thing I could think of in response is that Clark Kent, Steve Rogers and Luke Skywalker would I think probably say the very same thing, “I’m no hero. I’m just doing the job that I love.”
Alex Brown currently serves as a staff nurse at the Adult Emergency Department in the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, at both the Main Hospital as well as at Ashley River Tower.
With respect to just how he is fighting the coronavirus, Alex indicates that it really depends on where he is being staffed. All patients are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arrive into the facility by staff posted outside of the hospital doors.
If someone is possibly symptomatic with COVID-19 characteristics they are screening for, they go to a separate portion of the ER to reduce exposure to those who may not have the disease. Alex indicates the medical staff is being extremely vigilant to keep their patients and staff healthy while fighting against the coronavirus and all other diseases and traumatic injuries.
When treating possible COVID-19 patients, the medical staff also works to significantly “cluster care” in order to reduce PPE waste. Telehealth options and other communication methods are also being used to reduce the need of face to face time where the hospitals health care workers are possibly exposed to the virus as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so. Alex was also keen to point out that eyes and hands are still on the patients when needed at their bedside as well.
With respect to what the epidemic looks like in South Carolina, Alex says that they are seeing lots of patients who may have symptoms of the disease. Exact figures as to how many do versus how many do not is unclear, but in an overabundance of caution, they are treating far more as possibly infected by the disease then not and following a proper examination and rule-in or out by our physicians, we proceed based on the level of care prescribed by the team.
Alex also went on to point out that he finds it odd being in the hospital now without family being at the bedside of the sick as much as they typically are, but we are taking contact information from them to keep families informed of the care of their loved ones when appropriate.
Alex also indicates that he worries for those who are scared to come to the hospital for fear of catching the virus, and emphasized that if people are not coming to the hospital and need to be seen, they should please seek care at their local primary care level. Or they should seek a direct consultation of their specialists if need be, and try not to prolong care if it is essential for their health and safety to receive it.
Interestingly, Alex isn’t just a nurse of the front lines of the Coronavirus epidemic, but also a member of the South Carolina Army National Guard and while he knows that there are some Guard members on state level with active orders assigned to various tasks to assist the state, he is not one of them currently. Alex along with others not currently activated are caring for the civilian population in their full time work are trying to stay in those roles to keep that care going and not create holes. Alex went on to say that civilian and military personnel alike are all in this fight together.
From a SciFi perspective, Alex was in fact once a stormtrooper and is “always” a stormtrooper as he pointed out. Under the designation TK-3855, and can also on occasion troops as a Tie Fighter Pilot and has served and trooped as part of both the Carolina and Midsouth 501st Garrisons.
Alex got in to the 501st after wanting to build a legitimate stormtrooper suit for a costume, but discovered the organization and learned about projects like R2-KT’s build for a young girl Katie (the daughter a founding 501st member with brain cancer. KT was a pink astromech droid similar to R2-D2, which was created in record time by a team of builders pitching in to make a life changing companion for Katie’s cancer journey and is now a spark of hope for people worldwide with her heart of gold.
Lately Alex has been working full time in the hospital setting, serving in the national guard and in full-time school at MUSC for their Family Nurse Practitioner Doctorate of Nursing Practice program. While he is in fact really busy however, he still finds a few troops that he is able to make and is always looking for a way to don that 501st Imperial uniform and serve.
With respect to his science fiction interest, Alex says that as long as he can remember, he has been immersed in the sci-fi world, and started watching older sci-fi tv and movies as a kid. Star Wars was one of his first loves but he also enjoyed shows like Land of the Lost, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Twilight Zone and many others. Alex loves watching mystery science theatre now and laughing through a lot of the older science fiction movies with those characters.
Alex went on to say that he has other cosplay interests and ideas bouncing around in his head, but school is currently his main priority. Interestingly, Alex also has a jazzy power chair sitting in wait for the day that he can build a Dalek around it as he is also a Whovian. And even though the list can go on and on Alex pointed out that he has also always loved Tron, both the old and new; and would love to build a light suit similar to the second film’s and ride his motorcycle wearing it!
SciFiPulse would like to thank Alex for his selfless work and dedication through this Coronavirus pandemic, as well as to his dedication to the cause so many other 501st members dedicate themselves to, making the galaxy a better place and helping to make a difference. Keep up the good work Alex and the Force is strong in you.
In our upcoming articles about everyday scifi heroes we will be saying thank you to three other scifi heroes, Brian Stephenson, Derrick Fontanez and Vicky Vic, along with members of the 501st who have answered the call to fight this unseen enemy.