When you foster an environment of caring and collaboration, where people want to help others become their best selves, amazing things can happen.
Tim McArdle, Flexible Upgrades Leader at what was formerly our Thiele division, is living proof. Literally.
By the beginning of 2016, things had gotten pretty bad for Tim. Diagnosed more than 30 years ago with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic illness with no cure, he lived in level-7-out-of-10 pain all the time.
He’d had to give up his outside sales job with the company because of the long car trips. He couldn’t golf, or fish, or even get a good night’s sleep anymore. He’d had multiple surgeries on his joints through the years, and was prescribed a lot of medications to manage his symptoms. He’d often have to rely on his siblings for help.
More worrisome, he’d had complications from his rheumatoid arthritis and various drug interactions that had stopped his heart on three separate occasions.
Tim has died three times.
As you would expect from any caring family, his team members rallied around him. They ensured he had a close parking space at work. His leaders supported him in any way they could. When Tim would walk to the back of the plant for a meeting, team members always would have a chair waiting for him.
And, then, one incredibly special team member changed the course of his life. Forever.
Peggy Schempf, an Engineering Support Specialist at Thiele, noticed that Tim appeared to be in a lot of pain one day in particular. When she asked him about it, he opened up and shared more of his story than he usually did.
A lightbulb went on—she knew about a nutrition course at a local chiropractor’s office that could possibly help him. They could go together.
For 10 weeks after the course, Tim committed to trying a strict diet that aimed to reduce inflammation and heal his body on a cellular level. No grains, no potatoes, no sugar (including his beloved sweet tea). Only vegetables that grew above ground were on the menu. Most fruit was out, but berries were OK. Beef had to be grass-fed, chicken had to be free-range and organic, and fish had to be wild-caught.
At the end of the 10 weeks, something was different. Tim had lost 40 pounds. But, more than that, he was moving through the world with more ease. His pain was reduced. He was sleeping better. He began to gain a new outlook on life, and a steadfastness to help others do the same.
“After dying three times, I’m committed to sharing what I’ve learned about the importance of nutrition,” said Tim. “Although a diet like the one I continue to follow isn’t for everyone, eating better is important for all of us.”
Now, more than a year later, Tim’s doctors are amazed. They’ve been able to cut back on many of his medications. He’s lost a bit more weight, and his blood pressure couldn’t be better.
“I’m getting stronger with each passing week,” said Tim. “I love and enjoy life so much more. I have become a very optimistic person and enjoy activities that I thought were gone forever. I even have a bucket list!”
In the past year, Tim has crossed some things off that list. To celebrate his 61st birthday, he bought himself a Schwinn bicycle, “a sweet ride,” as he describes it, to get out in the community and feel the sunshine. He’s gone bow-hunting, and he even went skydiving!
But, perhaps even better than these big accomplishments are the little things.
He doesn’t need that chair after the long walk to the back of the plant anymore. He doesn’t use an accessible parking spot at work—in fact, he walks two-plus miles on a bad day now and parks as far away from the door as he can. He says that Barry-Wehmiller’s culture of wellbeing helps him stay motivated.
“Before working the diet, I wondered if I would make it to retirement,” said Tim. “Now, I look forward to a more active life and a more active retirement in four years. I have truly regained a part of me that was missing for many years.”
People often ask me the ROI of fostering an environment where people truly care about each other. Just ask Tim.