There is a military adage that dates back to Napoleonic Wars – “March to the sound of the guns.” It is the notion that soldiers should move toward the place where they can put their skills to use. To put it another way, it is a directive to move to where the action is occurring. For someone with a history of medical mission work, the equivalent of that statement may be, “Go to where people are suffering.” Christy Klein is putting those principles into action by going to New York City.
Christy grew up in the Whitehead community, the daughter of Leo and Dorene Caudill. Christy is a 1995 graduate of Alleghany High School and went away to college at East Carolina University (ECU). After a period of no clear direction, she left ECU and enrolled in the nursing program at Pitt Community College.
Upon graduation from Pitt, Christy took a nursing position at Wake Forest Baptist Health in the intermediate care department. It was something of a homecoming for the family. Dorene, Christy’s mother, graduated from North Carolina Baptist Hospital School of Nursing (now Wake Forest Baptist Health) in the 1960s. Christy credits Dorene, an emergency department nurse at Alleghany Health since 1969, for “Leading me into nursing.”
Christy met her husband Steve while working at Baptist. Steve works with, Fedora Security where he specializes in video analytical security. Fedora also partners with Action Targets where among other things they design and build firearms training facilities around the world.
Christy left Baptist and took a nursing position at Carolinas Medical Center Atrium Health in Charlotte. Over the next 14 years she honed her skills in the trauma center and picked up extra hours in the emergency department. She later moved into operations as a mid-level clinical supervisor and then a nurse manager in the emergency department.
To help facilitate these moves, Christy went back to school. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2013 and then went straight into graduate school – not just one school but two. Over the next four years she simultaneously worked on a Masters in Business Administration degree from Pfeiffer University and a second degree in Nursing Leadership from East Carolina University (ECU). She graduated from Pfeiffer in 2017 and ECU in 2018.
Christy’s goal has always been to come back home to Alleghany County. In 2019 a clinical services position opened Alleghany Health. Christy was selected for that job and she and her family moved to Alleghany. Along with Christy and Steve, their family includes three children: Neicolah, who is in the US Army and is training to be a combat medic; Sadye (named after her grandmother) is 14; and Jon, the youngest son is 8 years old.
Throughout her career Christy has worked with medical missions. She has traveled with Team Rubicon on missions to Greece, Ecuador and Puerto Rico. She has been to Vietnam with Vets on a Mission and is scheduled to return there with them this fall.
So, it against that backdrop of family history, education and life experience that Christy has found herself, along with the rest of the world, in an international health crisis. She has heard the calls and is moving to the sounds of suffering. From April 13 – May 25, Christy will be on the front lines of the Covid 19 response in New York City where she will serve at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.
The challenges of such a trip are overwhelming. The grim realities are terrifying. Perhaps Dorene summed it up best in response to a Facebook post from Christy: “So now we’re off on another idea of yours to cause me some worry…lol. But just like all the other times, I believe in you and most importantly I believe in God to keep you safe, healthy and wise. I am so blessed with such wonderful children!!!”
Along with Dorene, our community is blessed to have citizens like Christy Klein who respond to needs of others by moving toward the challenges from which most of us would rather flee or pretend doesn’t exist.