She was stationed at a naval base on a small island in the Indian Ocean when she saw the news: two planes had flown in to the Twin Towers.
“I had just come back from chow,” Kate recalls. “I was getting ready for bed, and all of sudden, on TV, we’re seeing news about it. Nobody could believe it. And then everyone got called back to the hangar, to hear a speech from our commanding officer. From then on, we worked 12 hours on, 12 hours off. No time off.”
Jet Fighters and Friendships
Kate kept up the grueling schedule until she rotated off the island the following May. Her experience was part of her 14-year stint in the Navy, as an aircraft mechanic. During her service, she maintained an array of fighter planes, including the F-14 Tomcat (this is the fighter Tom Cruise’s character piloted in “Top Gun” and the F-18 Hornet (the type flown by the Navy’s Blue Angels team).
Kate’s favorite part of being in the Navy was camaraderie she enjoyed with her fellow co-workers. Today, as an agent for SYKESHome, she enjoys being in close touch with her fellow SYKESHome team members. Like many work-at-home agents, Kate is amazed at how close she has grown to some of her co-workers, even though they have never met in person.
“I’ve made friends in all the different programs I’ve worked. I have friends in Indiana, one in North Carolina, one in Texas. We’re always chatting with each other after hours.”
Helping Others with Health Care
Kate left the Navy in 2005 due to an injury. Today she no longer manages maintenance for fighter aircraft, but she does help patients and providers manage their health care benefits. As an agent for SYKESHome, she assists callers with their accounts, claims, or finding right healthcare provider. Many of the calls are quick – like calls checking on benefit eligibility – but it’s the more complicated calls that Kate finds the most rewarding.
One example is the mother of a girl with disabilities who called in just for an ID card replacement. But during the course of the call Kate discovered other ways to provide care, by pointing out additional benefits including a service that would get her daughter to all of her medical appointments. “She had no idea that her plan would cover that. And she was so grateful that she called back to talk to my supervisor.” The grateful woman was thrilled to have the extra help and attention that Kate provided.
Being able to make a difference is one reason Kate loves working for SYKESHome. “To be able to participate in work like this means you are a part of something bigger. It gives you a great sense of fulfillment.”