Author: Kirsten Barber
For Black History Month, the Department of Public Safety is spotlighting employees who have gone above and beyond – either through their job or in their free time – to support COVID-19 safety and healing in their communities. Find more inspiring stories here.
When Craven County Probation and Parole Officer Michele Fisher was told she was being featured for her active role in her community, she was confused. The reason she was confused is a testament to why she deserves to be recognized: She sees her weekly acts of service as part of a regular routine that she enjoys doing and nothing more. In her own words, “I do not do it for the recognition.”
Fisher celebrated her 28th year with the department last October. She has worked in roles ranging from detention officer to surveillance officer to other probation and parole positions. In 2006 she was named the North Carolina Probation Officer of the year. Outside of work she is a wife, mother, author, public speaker, gospel singer, ordained evangelist, board member and volunteer. Fisher’s volunteerism within her community spans over a decade.
As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic stretched on from spring, to summer and then into fall, Fisher decided to “adopt” a small nursing home in New Bern in order to support staff members and encourage residents. She donated cleaning supplies to the facility and delivered puzzles, games, masks and personal hygiene items for the 50 residents.
Inspired by a story of a nurse’s compassion and kindness to a sick pregnant woman, Fisher told her husband that she wanted to do something to encourage the nurses at Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern even though she did not know any of them personally. She decided to put together goody bags for them, each containing a “thank you” card, candle, prayer book, devotional, cup and a drug addiction informational card. She delivered 48 brightly colored bags in January.
“These nurses see so much loss, someone just needs to say, ‘We see you. We thank you. You matter. The work you do matters and makes a difference,’” said Fisher.
Fisher’s kindness even sparked a stranger to pitch in with the goody bags when she questioned why Fisher was waiting in the checkout line with a cart full of devotional books. After hearing the story, she paid for the items in the cart. Another local business owner Fisher met while building the goody bags not only donated money to this project but told Fisher that she wanted to be involved in one of Fisher’s community projects every month moving forward. Fisher says that she feels called by God to be involved in her community and doing the extra work to help people feel valued.
“My inspiration will always be my mother, who passed away 17 years ago from cancer,” said Fisher. “She would see a need and fill it. It did not matter if she had someone to help her, she just loved God and his people. She taught my sister and me to love one another and to do what we could to help others.”
Other initiatives Fisher has been involved with over the last year include assisting with a voter registration drive, a community food drive, helping at a COVID-19 testing site, delivering boxes of food and cleaning supplies to people quarantining at home with COVID-19, mailing out devotionals to encourage seniors undergoing dialysis so they would have something to read and surprising daycare workers with a special luncheon.
Co-workers and supervisors share that Fisher is constantly thinking of others and coming up with new ways to serve her community. Though she does not want or seek out recognition, she deserves it.