OAKWOOD, Ohio —Steve Norris is an Oakwood Public Safety Officer who works as a policeman, firefighter, and EMT through every 24-hour shift.

“There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with being able to help people in one of their darkest hours and one of their hardest times of their life,” Norris said.

    What You Need To Know

    • The public safety officer and his wife both contracted COVID-19

    • Both have battled through the virus and both have recovered

    • To help others, he is donating his plasma to be used as an antibody treatment for people suffering with severe symptoms 

But on March 13, Steve started to feel ill.

“I was fine all day long, I felt great,” he said. “Then I laid down to go to sleep and it was just that quickly that I was like man, I don’t feel so great."

He knew his symptoms, which included a 102 degree fever, just didn’t seem like a normal infection. A negative flu test on March 16 confirmed that. So he was tested on St. Patrick’s Day at the University of Dayton drive-thru testing site.

His wife Terra, who works as a private care nurse, took care of him while he was ill.

His results took nearly 11 days to come back as COVID-19 positive. But by then, the virus had spread to his wife.

“Obviously the close contact with me, she caught it and ended up being a lot more sick than me, unfortunately,” he said.

Steve said that was one of the toughest things about the situation.

“Just especially seeing her with it and how negatively it affected her, her breathing and just the way she felt and just still trying to continue to get over that,” he said. "Just kind of showed me the need for quick medical treatment, whatever kind of medical treatment is necessary, experimental or whatever, to try and knock this thing out."

Both Steve and Terra have battled through the virus, and now Steve has returned to work helping serve and protect the Oakwood community.

“(Returning to work) felt great,” he said. "I was here taking care of people for a long time, but I love what I do. I love my job, I love where I work, I love the people I work with. And so it was just one of those things that was like a breath of fresh air to be able to get back in and do. I’m 19 years into my career and it’s still exciting to get up and go to work.”

But to help beyond the city limits, he’s donating his plasma at the Community Blood Center in Dayton to be used as a potential treatment to help others battle severe symptoms of the virus. He hopes others who have recovered can do the same.

“It’s kind of selfish for me to go, I have antibodies, and I could donate plasma, but I don’t feel like it because I don’t like needles,” he said. “It’s kind of selfish when someone else is really, really sick and may be dying from it and what I have can potentially help them. So, it’s kind of not even a question.

Steve plans on donating as many times as he’s allowed, as long as it’s helpful, and ultimately he’s grateful that things turned out as well as they did for he and his family.  

“God uses us in ways that we have no idea about to accomplish purposes to help other people,” Norris said. "When I look back at the last few months with COVID and how it affected me and how it affected my family, but then on the other side of that then being able to help other people who otherwise I would not have been had I not had the illness, it kind of puts it in perspective.

As an added bonus to a rollercoaster ride of emotions over the past two months, Steve — who decided to return to Cedarville University three years ago — just celebrated a major milestone.

“God prompted me to go back and get my masters,” he said. “And so I just graduated, virtual graduation, with my Masters in Ministry.”

And while he doesn’t plan on leaving Oakwood Public Safety anytime soon, he does plan on using his new degree every day.

“My job a lot is about ministry, and ultimately ministry is about people,” Norris said. “And so I have already been able to take what I’ve learned and applied that to my specific job now. When you can more effectively love people and when you can show them God’s love, when you can actually step up and put yourself in their shoes.  It makes me a much more competent police officer, firefighter and EMT who can have compassion for other people.”