Wearing Many Hats to Help Others

I will never forget it. 12 years ago, I was part of a team of volunteer firefighters called to extract an 18-month-old toddler from a sewer drain. When we reached him, he wasn’t responsive or breathing, but, luckily, we were able to save him. I’ve thought about him a lot over the years. As a father myself, the memory of that day has stayed with me. I ran into his mother at a recent event, and she immediately recognized me and introduced me to her son. It was a special moment – the type that brings meaning to all the hours you put in.

And I’ve put in a lot of hours. For the past 26 years, I have volunteered as a firefighter at least 5-10 hours a week and I train new firefighters as a Pennsylvania State Fire Academy instructor. I’m also very active with Camp Freedom, a year-round adventure camp in Northeast Pennsylvania for individuals with disabilities, including Veterans and First Responders, their families, and Gold Star families. I do these passion projects in addition to my day job at Sanofi, where I am a Regional Procurement Buyer.

I’ve realized that all these roles are similar in their focus. To me, everything comes back to helping people; it’s what drives me to get up and show up each day. I know it sounds cliché, but you could say helping people is in my blood as both my father and grandfather were firefighters. I’ve taken my commitment further than them, though, and I wouldn’t have it any other way

Even though I don’t have direct patient contact in my role at Sanofi, my best memories involve those I help. While in my prior role leading New Hire Orientation at our Swiftwater site, I trained staff on safety procedures and facility operations. I was one of the first faces people met when they joined Sanofi and it’s great to hear how I’ve impacted their roles, even today.

And, in 2020, my role as a procurement buyer took on a whole new meaning. As the COVID-19 pandemic surged, I was responsible for securing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies that are necessary to safeguard those who work tirelessly in our facilities to make medicines available to patients. It was incredibly challenging, and I had to work closely with our Quality team to ensure that the products I secured were up to our standards. The day-to-day work that I do helps save money to be reinvested within the company to help further support the needs of our patients.

It is an honor to be able to help ensure the safety of my colleagues who work onsite, especially considering they play such an important role in the development of medicines and vaccines that are needed by patients all over the world. When you follow your passion, you find your purpose, your personal mission. I feel lucky to be in a position where I can help others in so many ways.

Jim with Bill and Laura Bachenberg, Camp Freedom Founders. Jim was named “First Responder of the Year” in 2020 by Camp Freedom.