Global sporting icons have contributed generously to help governments in their fight against the raging COVID-19 pandemic. There are some others, like legendary volleyball player Tom Joseph, who have gone a step further and offered their services to various departments of healthcare and emergency service.
The 41-year-old Arjuna awardee, who enthralled volleyball enthusiasts with power-packed smashes in his illustrious career spanning over two decades, has been working as a volunteer at the COVID-19 first-line treatment centre (CFLTC) set up on the BPCL-Kochi Refinery campus at Ambalamugal for the past seven months.
Tom, who captained India in 2000 when he was just 20, is an assistant manager with the BPCL-Kochi and is also the sports officer at the public sector fuel retailer. The CFLTC was set up at an old school managed by BPCL-Kochi Refinery at Ambalamugal in October.
Tom, who hails from Poothampara, an upland village in Kozhikode district, talks about his volunteer experience and how he is providing care to those who need it.
"One day around 3 am, I received a call from the CFLTC. A patient's oxygen saturation level was going down and he needed immediate life-saving interventions for survival. I knew immediately what I needed to do. I arranged an ambulance, and with the help of Dr. Sajith who was in charge of the CFLTC, the patient was shifted to the nearby hospital. Thankfully, his life was saved. I get such calls quite often. There was no oxygen support at the facility before, but now we have arranged that also. I'm overseeing the transportation of oxygen cylinders and medicines to the treatment centre. I also help in unloading and storing them.
Three BPCL players who represented Kerala at the 69th Senior National Volleyball Championship in March had tested positive. They had shown symptoms when they returned from Bhubaneswar. All of them were treated at the CFLTC here and they were discharged when their test results turned negative after 10 days. As all of them are my wards, they used to call me frequently from the treatment centre. I'm happy that I could help them feel comfortable in those trying times.
As I'm on COVID-19 duty, I stay extra cautious and vigilant and adhere to all safety protocols. I do everything to decrease my risk of exposure while I’m at work. I always wear double masks and sanitise hands frequently. Wearing double masks can be uncomfortable and annoying, but I never take off them. I always keep a bottle of hand sanitiser in my pocket and wear gloves when I'm at the CFLTC. I step inside the home only after taking a shower. I know it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of my family. It is important to do what you can during these difficult times."