Abraham Felix:

public safety officer   

Years at OSU: 2.5

City of residence: Corvallis

The nature of Abraham Felix’s job changed quite a bit when the COVID-19 pandemic drove most students and staff away from Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus.

“For us, our primary job is making sure everyone is safe,” said Felix, a campus public safety officer whose essential role has kept him on campus five days a week throughout the closure. “Since there are not a lot of people on campus, we’re doing a lot more checking on offices and buildings.”

Felix and his fellow officers are outfitted with masks, gloves and sanitizer as they make their rounds of campus. University Facilities staff also made the officers special tools that allow them to open or check locked doors without having to touch them.

A normal workday in the past would include numerous encounters with students and staff, but these days, a shift might mean running into just one or two other people on campus, Felix said.

“In public safety, our biggest thing is communication, and not having as much of that has been hard to adjust to,” he said. “But we’re all talking to one another more, texting each other, just trying to keep ourselves positive and motivated. We check in with each other a lot.”

When Felix encounters students or other campus visitors, his primary focus is education: Make sure to practice social distancing. If you’re looking for a place to get some exercise, you might try this hiking spot. These parking lots are still open.

“We try to redirect people to where they are allowed to be,” he said. “I just want to make sure everyone’s staying healthy. I give students advice on things they can do, like hiking.”

Public Safety Chief Suzy Tannenbaum said Felix is a strong example of the dedication the Department of Public Safety’s officers and dispatchers have shown during this unprecedented time.

“I am so incredibly proud to work alongside these public safety responders who show up on campus, remain positive and work hard to keep OSU safe and secure,” Tannenbaum said. “Their customer service, professionalism, and dedication to OSU is top-notch and should be recognized.”

Felix said he feels fortunate to have his job and get to come to work each day, and he knows his work is appreciated, too.

“We hear a lot of ‘thanks for being here,’” he said. “That’s what keeps me showing up for work every day.”

~ Michelle Klampe

Have an OSU Unsung Hero suggestion? We are looking for submissions that highlight OSU employees and students who are not typically in the spotlight but are going above and beyond during this pandemic. Send your suggestions to [email protected] and our staff may contact them to conduct remote interviews that we would feature in OSU Today and elsewhere.