James Perkins


“I’ve always loved helping people. Having been in a situation where I had to depend on others has made me more determined to continue to help people as much as I can.”

Murfreesboro, Tennessee - July, 2020

My name is James. Having recently returned to work as a Direct Support Professional in Volunteers of America’s Alexandra House after recovering from COVID-19, I have a new appreciation of all of the things in front of me. In addition to my weekend shifts at VOA caring for William, Michael and Helen at Alexandra House, I also work as a Patient Care Tech at the local hospital. It takes a lot for me to miss work but, about two months ago, I just couldn’t go in. My whole body was hurting. I felt it deep in my bones. I went to the emergency room at one point and, although my symptoms were severe, the doctors didn’t think I needed hospitalization. Instead, they sent me home to quarantine from my family, monitor my symptoms, rest and hope for the best. At home, I retreated to an attic bedroom communicating with my family via phone and text. I didn’t even see the family dog for a month.

I’ve never felt so much pain. Just an overall body ache and the worst sore throat ever. My condition persisted for about a month. After nearly five weeks of isolation, my energy began returning and my second test came back negative. It’s an experience I don’t wish on anybody. I’m grateful for my recovery and, through all of this, I’ve decided I’d like to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN.)

I was so excited to be able to return to work and see William, Michael and Helen. I’m looking forward to the day when I can get back to my regular routine with them and can take them outside to the park and for walks again. I’ve always loved helping people. Having been in a situation where I had to depend on others has made me more determined to continue to help people as much as I can. And, in the interim, I have my masks—I have them everywhere. I’m always using hand sanitizer. Having had coronavirus, I don’t want any part of it again!