Employee Bridges Gap Between Estranged Siblings
January 13, 2017
Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry awarded Stephanie Eker as this week’s Employee of the Week for going out of her way to connect a woman with her medically fragile and homeless brother.
Judy Alsup is a retired nurse who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, while her brother lives in Albuquerque. In August, Alsup’s brother became very ill with lung cancer, emphysema, and was experiencing a decline in his mental health. Amongst other issues, Alsup’s brother was struggling with homelessness. Alsup was desperate to get in touch with her brother because she knew he was medically fragile. She was unable to get a call through to her brother who was staying at the Albuquerque Opportunity Center Men’s Shelter (AOC) following his discharge from the hospital.
Alsup recalled reading an article about how we have been very proactive in helping people in Albuquerque who were experiencing homelessness with programs Heading Home and There’s A Better Way. Her recollection motivated her to call our office for any help we were able to provide and was connected to Eker. Alsup told Eker about her brother and his many health problems, including how her brother was homeless, and how she was very concerned because she could not reach him. Eker listened with compassion, understanding Alsup’s situation and worries.
Without hesitation, Eker offered to make phone calls to find out where he was and reassured Alsup that she would do everything she could to help. Eker then provided Alsup with a phone number to the director of Albuquerque’s Heading Home program. As a result of Eker’s resourcefulness and eagerness to assist, Alsup has been able to speak with her brother on a daily basis since Eker intervened.
According to Eker’s supervisor, Director of Constituent Services Alan Armijo, Eker is always eager to help people who call the Mayor’s Office. Eker also represents the Office of the Mayor for numerous community activities including acting as the office coordinator for United Way of Central New Mexico, act as lead for the City’s Toys for Tots drive, coordinating the bi-monthly blood drives for employees who work in City Hall, and sits on the Corporate Volunteer Council of Central New Mexico (CVC).
Eker’s desire to qualm Alsup’s worries and her ability to bridge the 800 mile gap between the siblings serve as a reflection of her generous spirit and kind character. It is for these reasons that Stephanie Eker was recognized as the City of Albuquerque’s Employee of the Week.
The Albuquerque Opportunity Center Men’s Shelter (AOC) is a non-profit organization and one of the City’s Heading Home programs. For information on homeless services available in the City please visit cabq.gov or call 311, TTY 711.