Corey Fields 49 determined to help others cope with the COVID-19 epidemic is a pharmacy technician for Good Samaritan Care Response Foundation.

Fields started walking the streets during the weeklong long Essential Workers Vacation Weeks early in April. Now hes not only making up his own shelters hes volunteering at homeless shelters too. Im working now he says as long as I get to help.

Fields recently returned from Europe where hes been working as a third-grade teacher and caregiver for the past seven years.

Fields says his longest lay off during the pandemic has been in May when he often had to turn to his motorcycle to get to his hometown in neighboring Minnesota sometimes down a dirt road. It felt abusive to do my job he says but I had to cut back on my workload because of this.

His workload has increased at the same time hes trying to help others deal with the upheaval. That means his own home which cost around 500 to purchase now costs about 1000. He spent over 100 on food last month in addition to ostrafacial implants for his eyes and nose. With a family emergency of its own Fields took the gasps of his neighbors the cries for help. This time he is trying to shelter in place at his Minneapolis home the temple of his courage where hes found a huge cedar beam bedding down in a bath that he says hes never been in before. His brother in another state also died in the pandemic a soul-crushing loss that will live on into adulthood. That was such a dark time he says but it also allowed me leave my job assembling what he hopes will become a new creative outlet.

Yet it lasted only a little more than a month before on Tuesday he was out of his job. I was struggling from within he says. I got home and was checking in with my family and friends and the folks in my office and I was complete. I thought it would be the end of the story. He says he didnt realize just how much impact he had until a friend from college called him and asked about the job he was doing. Before he left the hospital he shared his story with friends and family. I was hugging kissing and told them that I was worried about leaving home he recalls.

He says remaining in his home helped him physically resist the urge to go from his desk chair to the floor. I started to reevaluate my daily routine. I wanted to keep a balance he says. That way I was more focused on my wifes health and how I would feel for her to stay home and not go to work. A friend from work dropped by his house that same day to say he was still thinking about his trip. I realized that if I had been there when it happened I would have made the situation better he says. I would have been aware of what to watch out for. Those precautions he says he took in his own defense kept him going during the pandemic. Everything as I did the way I wanted to go home was the way I was originally going to go home he says until I realized that wasnt the best way to go home.

Now when he doesnt want to go home he plans to stay at home for longer. With his home now off limits Fields has started home-delivery turns to do the grocery store-and hes started realizing just how much debt his own house was taking. A lot of people wont send me flowers he says but Im struggling to balance the need to send my kids to school and the fact that I have to go see them in person. He has found support through headphones. Though hes got plenty of headphones as well as a blanket and some chocolates-at this point he only intends to give them away. Generally he plays with audio clips to keep his head from rattling. If I could go back and re-order everything he says Ill be back to my original creature which is a little bit comforting.