Tammy Grimes, a global supply chain program manager at Intel for more than 20 years, always had a passion for helping others. She was heavily involved in volunteer activities for most of her life, but after the birth of her daughter, she decided to take some time to focus on two things: motherhood and career.
Right around the time her daughter was becoming more independent, Tammy had the privilege of meeting her neighbor, Arlene, a 90-year-old firecracker who lived across the street.
Their friendship began simply enough with neighborly favors—Tammy walking Arlene’s dog, driving her to various appointments. But Tammy soon learned that Arlene was facing increasingly serious health challenges. And then COVID-19 hit, accompanied by stay-at-home orders. That’s when their relationship blossomed into a two-household shelter-in-place.
“It was really about doing the right thing for those in my Arizona family,” says Tammy. “But when I saw that my hours could ‘count’ toward Intel’s volunteer goal, I decided to put those numbers to work.”
Tammy was referring to the expansion of Intel volunteer matching program. For decades the Intel Foundation has given $10/employee volunteer hour to qualifying nonprofits and schools. In 2020, the Intel Foundation added homeschool help, virtual product drives, and community support like grocery shopping for others and making and donating face masks to what qualifies for matching. Tammy’s assistance to her neighbor fell into this expanded matching criteria.
Of course, Tammy would’ve helped Arlene whether the hours counted toward Intel’s goal or not. (Because "That’s just who I am", she says.) But with Intel, she could make those hours matter in more ways than one.
Tammy (right) with her neighbor Arlene (left)
Drawing from her extensive experience working in healthcare before joining Intel, Tammy began advocating for Arlene as she faced new challenges with healthcare needs during a pandemic. She safely got her to in-person appointment (masked up) and even taught the tech-savvy Arlene how to attend telehealth visits on the phone.
“It’s all about doing the neighborly thing and realizing that folks in your own backyard can use a helping hand and a little company in these crazy times,” says Tammy. “As well as in normal times, which may not feel so normal to those going through them.”
According to Tammy, her favorite part of the experience has been the stories she’s heard from Arlene, who was a businesswoman in her younger years, helping her husband with a publishing business for young children’s education books. Arlene was often the only woman in the room during this part of her career.
“If it wasn’t for strong women then,” says Tammy, “I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have now.”
Overall, Tammy is thankful she’s been able to use her advocacy and healthcare knowledge to support Arlene—all while building a long-lasting friendship with her, as well.
“The world can use a little kindness right now,” says Tammy. “It can use a little kindness in general. Because Arlene looks at me as a kind of daughter, and my kiddo as her granddaughter, that makes me the winner in this relationship. In my eyes, anyway.”
As Tammy—and all our Intel volunteers—continue to Do Wonderful, let’s continue to look for ways, both big and small, that allow us to reach out and be a good neighbor.
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