ST. PETE, Fla. — Growing up, brothers Tim and Bill Baptiste didn’t expect to be medical assistants, let alone during a global pandemic.
“I never thought I’d work in healthcare, I just thought I’d graduate and not know what to do but I found out I want to be in healthcare and it changed my life,” said 19-year-old Tim Baptiste.
The brothers were introduced to the Community Health Centers of Pinellas through the St. Petersburg College Pitch Program, a free workforce placement program for African American men ages 18-24.
“In a community where you are just brought up to fail, fail, fail all your life, if you do something different it’s positive it means a lot to me and my family,” said 21-year-old Bill Baptiste.
The brothers began working alongside one another full time and quickly realized what it means to be on the front lines, swabbing patients for COVID 19.
“I just say, ‘hey I know you are nervous I’m going to treat you like my own, like my mom or dad, brother or sister, just relax I’m going to swab you don’t worry about anything,’” said Bill.
The compassion they showed day in and out didn’t go unrecognized. Tim and Bill were honored with the State Board of Education Commissioner's Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Support during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It's like a once and a lifetime opportunity, I’m very thankful for it,” said Bill.
“They are amazing gentlemen, they are very wonderful with patients,” said Chief Medical Officer Nichelle Threadgill. “Being able to engage with patients is one thing that is very critical to providing care.”
They say the best part is winning it together, you can call it brotherly love.
“I always like seeing my brother, every day I see him it gives me joy, he just keeps me going through the day,” said Tim.