The current pandemic has sadly resulted in many people being out of work; it can be a tough time financially and mentally. But one inspiring South Bay resident, John Brayton, has taken a positive approach to his current situation by kindly volunteering with BCHD at the COVID-19 testing site.
It was John’s love of good, healthy food and exercise that first got him involved with BCHD; volunteering for the Healthy Minds Initiative, a study that observes the impact of healthy lifestyle factors on brain health. John started by attending the initiative’s half-day training course and then taking the tablet-based test he would be assisting others with. The test has been designed to assess and track the health and progress of older adults in the community. It looks at their health, diet, lifestyle and fitness over a three-year period. After his first day, John moved on to help with administering the testing program by registering the participants and assisting them with the tablets.
Just a few weeks later, the pandemic hit which paused the in-person tests and drove the need to switch John’s support from Heathy Minds to helping out at the BCHD COVID-19 testing site in Redondo.
John’s career in software engineering covered a variety of different fields including developing avionics systems and biomedical related systems. His experience in developing software and systems for a portable intensive care unit to save lives of soldiers who were severely injured on the battlefield made John perfectly qualified to help out at the testing site.
Travelling from his home in Gardena, John starts his day at 7:30 to get the testing site ready before it opens at 9. Coming from a background in software engineering, getting the computer equipment ready for the day is a natural fit. As new patients register, John transfers the written questionnaires into the computers to speed up the efficiency of the operation.
As John explains, “When the pandemic shut everything down, I felt the need to get out to meet people and be more involved in helping others. I really enjoy working with everyone on the team and knowing that I am doing something constructive during these difficult times; it’s so important for us all to maintain a positive state of mind and volunteering for BCHD has been a great way to do that.”
BCHD’s Volunteer Services Associate Alejandra Sierra says, “It’s always a pleasure to work with John when he is volunteering at the site. He’s quick at getting each test ready and making sure each patient’s profile is updated with no mistakes.”
When John’s not volunteering for BCHD, he’s helping his senior parents down in Orange County who live by themselves and need a lot of additional support. John helps with their shopping, mowing their lawns and trying to keep them as independent as possible. Aside from that, John manages to squeeze in time for exercising on his static bike at his house.
Having spent so much time volunteering, John has plans when COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past. “I still want to look for a potential career in engineering or real estate, but I’ll certainly continue volunteering with BCHD,” he said.
Written by Sue Murray, Volunteer Spotlight Writer