Kathy Coomer–Advice for Volunteer EMTs

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Katherine no-middle-name Coomer. Kathy, Kat, Kashka, or Kiki. I answer to them all.

What is your occupation?
I’ve worked as everything from a talent agent in Los Angeles to a Schwan’s truck driver with lots of things in between. Mostly, I’ve been an Executive Assistant to movers and shakers. Currently, I’m a shut-in caregiver to my disabled husband and our 15 year old son. This is by far the most challenging and rewarding “job” of them all.

What was the most enjoyable part of being a talent agent? The most frustrating part?
What I really loved most about being a talent agent was finding the right person for a given job (whether it be acting, writing, directing or producing). I enjoyed combining these efforts with casting agents and production staff. I worked for one of the top three talent agencies in the world and our “pool” of talent was amazing. So I was like a kid in a candy store when it came time to help find a good fit.

I think the most frustrating part of the job was dealing with the egos. You might be surprised to hear that I’m NOT speaking of the talent here but, rather, of other industry professionals. It’s why I left the business. Lack of kindness.

How old are you?
There aren’t enough numbers.

I’m 16 + 32 – 5 ÷ 2 X 4 – 30 if you must know.

I tried to figure that out, but gave up. Where do you live?
Hendersonville, North Carolina, ya’ll.

Do you have a blog or anything where people can learn more about you?
Nope. I’m a mystery, even to me.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Rome, Italy. Soooooo much history (good and bad) there!

Someone has one day to spend in Rome. How would you suggest they use their time?
Eat. The food is AMAZING! And no, it isn’t just pasta and pizzas. They KNOW how to cook fish, for example (my participation in the consumption of said fish was before I stopped eating anything with eyes). And it probably goes without saying that anybody who visits Rome MUST see as many ancient ruins as possible. Talk about history! WOW! The Coliseum is a given. Just to stand there and contemplate the things that happened there… Yeah, that.

What would be your favorite meal?
Tomato pie with a side of sautéed asparagus drizzled with fresh lemon juice. Hands down!

Pet peeve?
Only one? Oh my… Let me narrow it down….

Okay, narrowing down more…

Dishonesty. That would top the list.

Favorite book?
The Bible

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
Greater patience. I know that that can open up a can of worms God-wise. Who knows what He’ll give me in order for me to have that but I really am willing to do whatever it takes to know it. I’m pretty restless.

Tell us about your family?
Married, one human son, one dog son and two dog daughters.

My husband, Roger, has a severe traumatic brain injury. He is a quadriplegic and he can’t talk or eat. He is still and always will be the love of my life and it is an honor and blessing to care for him. Our son, Timothy, is 15 years old (you wouldn’t believe how much he’s grown, Henry!). He has autism and he has worked so hard and made so much progress to overcome many negative behaviors associated with that. I’m very proud of him. He’s still a work in progress but aren’t we all? We have an old Beagle, a younger Pekingese, and a younger still German Shepherd who all sleep with me (but don’t tell anybody).

They are all imperfectly perfect and I love them.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I’m right-handed but play darts best left-handed.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with it. It’s been years since I’ve had it. A cruise to the Greek islands sure sounds nice!

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I’m a former volunteer EMT (I really miss that work!!!). I studied improv at The Groundlings Theatre in LA and am a former model. I’m a U.S. Navy veteran. Ummmm…. I love to paint and write and would spend days working in the garden if I were able. I’m a vegetarian/borderline vegan. I suffer from insomnia. I like Brussels sprouts.

Can I show my readers this picture you’ve painted?
Yes.

Thanks much, Kathy. Can I ask you to offer some advice for volunteer EMTs?
My advice for volunteer EMTs? Sometimes, when people are confronted with “the worst” in life, the best care they can receive is that of a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

What did you do in the Navy?
I was a Radioman in the Navy. I worked in satellite signal propagation, cryptography and other things that I’d have to kill you if I told you about. I had my basic training in Orlando, my technical training in San Diego, and then was stationed for two years in Naples, Italy, two years in Thurso, Scotland, then six months in Norfolk, Virginia before I was discharged. Honorably. LOL!

Kathy, thank you for sharing with us some of your story. May God watch over and bless you and your family.

Travis Cable–Advice for Caregivers

Hi, and thanks for being with us on “Advice for Everyone.”  Can you tell us your name and any nicknames you might have?
Travis. My brothers nicknamed me “Taz” when we were little because they couldn’t pronounce Travis.

Can I use this picture of you and Cody?
Yes.

How old are you, and where do you live?
28 years old, and Arden, North Carolina.

What do you do for a living?  
IDD Support Staff

What does IDD stand for, and how did you wind up working for them?
Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled. My youth group leader at church was the house manager at a group home in my hometown. I shadowed and worked there for a bit after high school before transferring to Buncombe County.

How did you become a caregiver?
I have several persons with different abilities in my family. Growing up, I was always fascinated with my cousin Vickie’s ability to smile through some of the toughest situations. Vickie had severe cognitive impairments and was the light of our family. She was killed in a tragic car accident one evening after being picked up from her employment site, TVS, in Brevard. When my youth group director suggested I shadow at the group home, I thought of my cousin Vickie. I agreed, and soon had a job. I fell in love with the residents and have been in this line of work ever since.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Tell us about your favorite meal.
Nana’s chicken casserole, broccoli casserole, homemade mashed potatoes, 5 cheese mac and cheese!…with sweet tea of course!

Pet peeve? 
The Kardashians

Favorite book, or movie, or TV show? 
Favorite book series: Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks. Favorite movie: Fried Green Tomatoes. Favorite Television Show: Big Bang Theory

Why does “Fried Green Tomatoes” make the favorite movie list?
I love Fried Green Tomatoes because Kathy Bates ROCKS. Also, I think the writers and directors did a great job portraying some of the harsh realities in American History while also shedding light on the life and humor of one of the “black sheep” of society. It’s just an all around great movie. Plus, I love fried green tomatoes!

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
If I asked people to pray for anything it would be for understanding, unity, and compassion.

Are you married or have you been?  Any kids or pets? 
Not married, single, and no kids, but I do have two sweet yet obnoxious dogs. A seven year old Shih Tzu named Sophia and a two year old cocker spaniel/dachshund mix named Mazie. They’re like my children.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Backflips and splits

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I don’t have spare time so I wouldn’t know what to do with it, but I would love to learn to play guitar.

A magician waves a magic wand and “zap,” you’re a guitar-playing legend.  What kind of music are you playing, and why?
I would probably first learn to play “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman and “Chicken Fried” by Zach Brown Band. Two of my favorites!

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered. 
Interesting things: I’ve got four brothers and we’re often mistaken as quintuplets. I’ve been a caregiver for the same individual, Cody, since high school (ten years) and he’s like a brother to me. I’m a pretty boring person otherwise

What’s the story behind THIS picture?
LOL. Of all the HUNDREDS of pictures on Facebook, this is the one you chose! I knew it. This was taken four months after my dear friend Harry lost his battle with cancer. Some friends and coworkers decided we could honor his memory with a celebration of life and created a team called “Special Soldiers” to represent him and some of our other friends battling cancer.  I dressed up as “Mr. Relay” to help raise money for the American Cancer Association in his memory. We raised a few thousand dollars that year and had a great time doing it. We’ve since participated in two more Relay For Life events and look forward to doing it again next year.

Can you offer some advice for caregivers?
Whatever you do…..always bring an extra change of clothes for back up, expect the unexpected, and always remember that your job is to help promote the best quality of life possible for those you are caring for. There is no such thing as a disability……just different abilities

Travis, thanks much for letting us get to know you a little.  May God watch over and guide your adventures.