Chuck Mitchell is the coordinator of the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program.
When it comes to juggling Chuck Mitchell is a pro.
The coordinator of Phoebe’s Emergency Preparedness program comes from a dedicated lineage of talented clowns who passed along to him his ability to juggle.
In more practical terms, Mitchell is no less the juggler.
Balancing his work life at Phoebe with his volunteer life with the search and rescue team, bounty hunting and serving as deputy coroner for Dougherty County, there’s a reason why Mitchell told Herald reporter J.D. Sumner in a recent interview that he has little free time.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Believe it or not, my first job when I was 14-years-old. If you’re familiar with Flint Skeet and Trap Club, they had little clay targets. We had to unload the cases of targets out the truck. And when they’d have tournaments out there, we’d have to go out there and keep the targets loaded in the houses so the guys could shoot the targets when they’d come out.
Q: What did you buy with your first paycheck?
A: I put some gas in my car that my parents had bought for me — it was an old 1962 Chevy II station wagon — and just drove around and did regular old kid stuff.
NAME: Charles “Chuck” Mitchell
OCCUPATION: Coordinator, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program
YEARS ON THE JOB: 31
PERSONAL: Married to Kim; one adult son.
Q: How did you find yourself on your current job?
A: I actually got started with emergency management stuff before I joined the rescue team. My son was being born in April of 1983 and I didn’t know anything about any kind of medical — help him out if he was choking, or what to do if he got a cut and was bleeding, stuff like that. So I took a CPR and first aid course from Red Cross and some friends of my father were on the rescue team here and they wanted me to join the rescue team. I wanted to because it would involve scuba diving and stuff like that. I got involved in that and it just snowballed from that point. The rescue team falls under the fire department which is also the EMA (Emergency Management Agency) for Dougherty County so I’ve been in emergency management for over 30 years.
Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be a police officer. My grandfather was a police officer with the Albany Police Department many years ago back in the late ‘30s and I always admired him growing up.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, real or imaginary, who would it be?
A: Thinking back, I’d probably want to have lunch with John Wayne. He was a fantastic actor with his movies and everything, but he was also a good, decent citizen. He was a very patriotic-type person, a good family man and I think that would be a good and interesting lunch to sit down with him.
Q: What three items would you like to have if you were stranded on an island?
A: I know I would probably want a multi-tool thing because it has screwdrivers, knives, saws, scissors and everything on it. Wouldn’t need a flashlight because the batteries would run dead and that wouldn’t be good. Probably a good-sized survival knife. And a boat if I could find one.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about getting into your industry?
A: Anybody who wants to get into that, it’s pretty much like getting into the fire department or EMS. Try it out.
You can volunteer with so many different things and that way you can get your feet wet a little bit and get a taste of it and see if that’s actually what you want to do or not.
There’s something inside you that makes your really just want to help other people and you need to be trained to know what to do so it’s not something you have to stop and think about.
You just automatically know what to do when you want to help somebody or want to help a situation.
But for someone starting out, look for a volunteer group and that’ll give you kind of a taste for it to see whether that’s something you might want to do or not.
Q: Looking ahead, what do you want to do?
A: I want to be just like John Wayne. I want to be a super movie star with a lot of money.
Q: What’s your most valuable piece of office technology?
A: The most important piece to me is my Blackberry. That’s sort of like the second part of my brain. Any kind of information I need to call back up I just grab that thing and call it up and find it. If I forget about something the Blackberry has it all in its memory.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I don’t have much free time. Sleep, which is kind of rare. I don’t have any free time, to tell you the God’s honest truth.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
A: I can juggle. It’s been a while since I’ve juggled. My dad was with the clown unit with the Hasan Shrine Temple so I picked up a lot of his stuff, juggling and all of that.