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Be Courageous

In February 2008, when severe snow and ice storms crippled the Tri-State and dangerous roadways stranded many local residents in their homes, one woman would have beenmicheal08lg.jpg stranded somewhere else – Deaconess Hospital – if not for the help of Michal Dowdy.

Michal, an applications analyst in Information Services, was working late on February 11, the night of the storm. She left her third-floor office in the Health Sciences Building to call for a security escort to her car due to the slippery pavement. While she was waiting, she overheard the receptionist, Peggy Digman, talking about a woman who also needed transportation. The woman, who had recently undergone neck surgery at Deaconess, had once again found herself at the hospital visiting a family member in the ICU. But another relative had driven her to Evansville from her home in Illinois, so she had no car and no belongings with her since she had planned on just a day visit. Cab companies were running hours behind, and it was then that Michal stepped in.

She asked the receptionist for the woman’s cell phone number, called her, and asked if she could drive her where she needed to go. The woman agreed, and Michal braved the dangerous road conditions, driving slowly and eventually arriving at the West Side Wal-Mart. She helped the woman purchase toiletries and clothing, then assisted her in carrying her items up to her room in the Health Sciences Building, where she was staying overnight.

Bad weather and a late night didn’t deter Michal from showing compassion for the woman. “I figured it would be more convenient for her not to have to wait,” she explains. “I would do that for anybody.”