(This week The Columbian-Progress spotlights Freddy Stephens.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in Hattiesburg Nov. 18, 1964.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: I attended Sumrall High School then went to the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey and Emory University. I have a degree in health education, a degree in nursing and a specialty in ostomy care and wound management.
Q: Where do you work? Tell us about your job/company.
A: I’m an ET (enterostomal therapy) nurse for St. Luke Home Health & Hospice. I travel around the area and manage patients who have diabetic or ostomy problems. It’s typically people coming out of surgery, and a little bit more intense care is what they need.
Q: What led you to your profession?
A: I was inspired to be a nurse by a lady, Joyce Millstead, who taught me a lot. She’s passed away, but she inspired me a lot to go back to school and try. Then when I finished that, I was working with a company in Laurel who did the IVs for St. Jude and met the first ET nurse, Gracie Patrick, I had ever met. She kept enticing me to go back to ET school, and I said “No, there’s no way I want to do that.” I was always intrigued by how she did things, and ironically she actually signed me up and sent in my stuff so I could go to ET school. She kind of chose it for me, but it’s been a great career.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: The rewarding side of helping someone. It’s a major fulfillment job; that’s for sure. It’s pretty cool to be able to help someone at that level.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: The most challenging side of it is managing a lot of the Medicare requirements you need today to provide what you need for a patient because all of them are different.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
A: Never take it for granted and always do more than they expect. When it comes to health care, you always want to undersell and over deliver.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I always liked First Aid and nursing stuff, and it was always in the back of my mind. Even as a Boy Scout leader today, it’s something I enjoy teaching to the kids, too. It was always a plan that God had for me.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I worked for Hattiesburg Radiology in the ER department, doing billing for them at night while I was in nursing school.
Q: Who are the people who have been most influential in your life?
A: Certainly my parents, Troy and Ouida Stephens. My mom pushed me a lot to go to school and try to excel more and more. She taught me to set goals for myself and try to achieve higher goals.
Q: What is your spouse’s name?
A: Selena. She’s a nurse as well.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have a 21-year-old son, Logan, who is an Air Force pilot, and a 18-year-old daughter, Calli, who is a senior at Sumrall.
Q: If you could have anything for your last meal on earth, what would it be?
A: I would have a steak from Donanelle’s Bar & Grill.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Montana because the Glacier National Park is a great place to hike and backpack. It’s my favorite place.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I still enjoy water skiing, snow skiing and taking the scouts out. I love taking them camping, letting them see nature and letting them enjoy God’s creation.
Q: What do you enjoy about this area?
A: I think South Mississippi is really rewarding because it gives us a lot of opportunities to have a personal relationship with the patients and the doctors that provide them.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone from your life or history, who would it be and why?
A: Joseph from the Bible. He’s my favorite Bible character. I think he was a man’s man, and he certainly lived through some experiences that we all experience today. He’s someone that even if his brothers looked up to.
Q: If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do all day?
A: I would still work. I enjoy what I do. My job is more of a vacation than a vocation.
Q: What moment in your life has had the biggest impact on who you are today?
A: Accepting Christ absolutely. I think a personal relationship makes a big difference going forward. I was saved in 1997.
Q: What is one thing you want to do that you’ve never tried before?
A: Parasailing because it just looks fun. I’ve seen it done a few times, but I’ve never had the physical opportunity to do it. I think I’m going to go do it.
Q: Using one word for each, what are your top three morals?
A: Character, trustworthiness and honor.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference for someone else and someone who changed the lives of others.
— Joshua Campbell