Employee Voices

A Protector of Our Children

COVID-19 never kept this dedicated material handler away from doing her part in helping to protect our nation’s littlest residents.



Read time: 3 minutes

Ruby Terry is typically the first person to arrive at the McKesson facility in Memphis, Tenn. and the very last to leave. She can’t wait to start each day and doesn’t stop until everything she can possibly do is complete. That’s because what she does helps save children’s lives.

Ruby works as a material handler for a McKesson distribution center designed to support the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). It’s a national program that provides vaccines for millions of children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. Whether it’s for the flu, chickenpox, Meningitis, Hepatitis A/B or the mumps, these vaccines protect millions of babies, young children and adolescents from 16 different diseases each year.

That makes her job more than just a job. It makes it a mission, and one she takes very seriously.

“I think of my own family and how important it would be to me – and them – if we ever needed a critical vaccine but couldn’t afford it,” says Ruby, who is a devoted wife of 30 years, and a mother and grandmother. “What I do helps ensure that these vital drugs get to our nation’s children who need them, when they need them.”

All of these vaccines must be kept at specific temperatures throughout the entire supply chain process. If these strict temperature controls aren’t properly maintained, vaccine potency may be lost, resulting in a useless supply.

Ruby and her coworkers are responsible for maintaining the cold chain for each vaccine. This is the supply chain process designed to make sure a vaccine stays at a certain temperature from the moment McKesson receives it from the manufacturer to the time it reaches the point of care facility that will ultimately administer it. As a material handler, Ruby makes certain that the right vaccines are picked from refrigerators, packed properly inside insulated containers, and then shipped to their correct destination.

“I’ve always had a huge heart for little ones that are undergoing health challenges,” she shares. “I’ve supported charities like the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for years, but what I do now allows me to be more directly involved and I love that.”

In the eight years since she and her sister Barbara joined McKesson, her dedication to her role has been unwavering, regardless of circumstance.

And that includes throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Since the pandemic began, I haven’t missed a single day,” she says. “I haven’t even hesitated, and neither have the rest of my colleagues. We know our role is too crucial for children’s health – maybe now more than ever.”

In order to protect the essential workers leading these life-saving efforts, McKesson quickly enacted multiple safety procedures earlier this year, including temperature checks, mandatory face coverings, social distancing whenever possible, and the placement of hand sanitizers in all distribution centers. The company also increased disinfection measures in all distribution centers.

“It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world – kids still need their vaccines,” she continues. “And with all of the safety measures that McKesson put into place for its employees, I feel good about coming into work and continuing to fulfill such an incredibly important mission.”

It’s the knowledge that her role at McKesson serves such a critical purpose, coupled with the pride she feels in working for a company that puts its employees’ wellbeing first, that brings Ruby satisfaction day in and day out. It’s also why she’s known to hum inspirational songs (from under her mask) to herself throughout the workday.

“Having sung in church choir most of my life, humming just comes naturally to me,” she says. “But I also hum when I’m at my happiest. What I do here at McKesson makes me very happy – and why wouldn’t it? I’m helping to protect children. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”