Faces of the frontlines: Pharmacy tech continues to serve, connect with customers
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Heather Wilhelm’s welcoming grin is hidden these days behind an N95 mask she wears while working as a certified pharmacy technician at Lyon’s Corner Drug and Soda Fountain.
But while the mask may hide her smile, it can’t stop her from making connections with the customers who rely on the well-established downtown Steamboat Springs pharmacy to meet their needs in good times, and now, in times of crisis,
“In terms of the actual function of my job I don’t feel like that much has changed,” Wilhelm said about working during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Obviously, there are more measures in place like sanitizing and wearing masks now, but serving our customers, that has not changed.”
The biggest difference, Wilhelm said, is inside the normally packed store. These days things are a little quieter. The normally packed soda fountain where she got started working 15 years ago is closed, and the front of the store sees fewer people as well.
“This was my first job in school, like ever,” Wilhelm said.
She also helped out in the pharmacy when needed and was encouraged to pursue her pharmacy tech certification, which she did in 2008.
“It’s not necessarily my only career, because I do several different things, but I enjoy doing it, and I’ve kept it up over the years,” Wilhelm said.
These days the pharmacy’s new owner Matt Johnson is thrilled to have employees like Wilhelm on staff who are willing to come to work every day and fill an important community role.
“I think it is awesome that people’s perception of us is that we are relaxed, we are doing our job and we are taking care of people,” Johnson said. “I love it that my pharmacy staff is conducting business as usual even in the face of what we are dealing with as a society. I think that is awesome and pretty rare.”
Wilhelm said she is happy to be doing her part and she feels safe coming into work and serving the public.
“I mean, in this setting here, I feel safe because, as I said, the store is really, really quiet, and then we have this big counter between us and all the people, “Wilhelm said. “I know we’re frontline, but it hasn’t really felt that way, that much.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — wear a mask in indoor, public spaces in Routt County.