Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Employee Gives Back to Community
TOPPENISH – After years of injury, illness, and other setbacks, former Artillery Crew Chief Chris Tevlin decided he didn’t want the story of his life to be about misfortune; he wanted to live his life giving back. He has centered his life around giving to others, so what he did on Father’s Day weekend was no surprise to his family and friends.
“I’m one of the more fortunate soldiers. I was diagnosed with Desert Storm Syndrome, but overcame many of the issues,” he said. Desert Storm Syndrome affects sufferers with abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.
After Desert Storm, fate wasn’t done with him yet. In the following years, he suffered a broken neck injury, back issues that left him unable to walk, a heart condition, and he lost his job."
Tevlin came to work at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in February of 2018, after serving 16-years in the Army including a deployment to Desert Storm.
When he started his position as a network analyst for Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Tevlin had a host of insecurities about his health and personal abilities. Those insecurities subsided as he experienced first-hand the “we are family” culture of the organization.
“Despite my own insecurities, my coworkers went to extraordinary strides to make me feel very welcome,” he said.
He began seeking health care at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, and together with his primary care provider, worked toward a more positive health outcome.
“Today, I’m in much better condition, good health, and taking no medication at all. I’m 57, and for the first time in many years, I’m healthy,” he said. “When I look back, I see that I’ve repeatedly been fortunate. This has made me want to give back and do things for others.”
Tevlin and his family hosted a Father's Day barbecue in Toppenish's Post Office Park for nearly 90 guests. They served tri-tip roasts, hamburgers, hotdogs, and all the trimmings.
On Monday morning, after the event, Tevlin encountered two young people sitting on the grass at Pioneer Park. They called him by name, thanking him for the nice barbecue and commenting on how good the food was.
“That made me feel 10 feet tall,” he said. “In some regards I feel that doing the barbecue probably did more for me, by making me feel happy to have been able to do it, than it did for any one person in attendance.”
Tevlin and his family are hoping to make this an annual event in Toppenish.