At Store 6590 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, one longtime associate is doing double duty – not just for himself, but for his fellow associates, family and community.


Cody Cole is the store manager at Store 6590, but he’s also working as interim manager at Store 6583, which is also in Lake Charles. Cody has been at Walmart for a long time. In his 17 years as an associate, he’s worked just about every job in the store. This year, though, he’s working on something new: a lowkey approach to getting people vaccinated against COVID-19.


“I know getting the vaccine is super important to protecting my store, the associates and the community,” Cody says. “And I mean, I want to get back to some kind of normalcy! Not just for our city or state, but for the whole country.”


For Cody, getting the vaccine was a step toward the return to normalcy. But he admits he had to think about it for a bit. 


“I’ve been on the fence for a little while on getting the vaccine – I’m afraid of needles – and yesterday I was touring my old store, and our pharmacy manager asks me, ‘Why don’t you join the millions of people who already have the vaccine?’” Cody says.  “And so, I just did it!”


Turns out, Cody isn’t alone in being worried about needles. Researchers at the University of Michigan just showed that as many as 30 percent of adults have at least a mild needle phobia. As common as this fear is, Cody says it’s outweighed by his concern for his associates and family.


“I have a wife and three children at home,” Cody says. “So, I know this vaccine serves to protect them as well.”


Now that he’s vaccinated, Cody feels hope for the future for the first time in a while. And he’s trying to get his fellow associates in on the action.


“Through store huddles in both stores, I am proudly sporting my COVID-19 vaccination sticker,” Cody says smiling. “The sticker is a simple way to spark conversation with associates on getting the vaccine.”


In the final assessment, Cody has a lot going on. Three young kids, two stores, and a small fear of needles. Despite all that, he found the time to go get the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, he’s standing proudly alongside the 153 million other adults who have had at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


“Through the store, and the community, as many people as we can get sporting that ‘I’m vaccinated’ sticker, the better off we are,” Cody says. “It’s a positive message for our whole community.”