If you happen to see Garrison Levey reading a thick tome on his lunch hour and you assume it is simply the latest best seller he could not put down, you would be wrong.
The book, "Fundamentals of Psychiatric Mental Health in Nursing" is one of a mountain of 15 texts that mean more to Levey right now than any novel could.
"Friends told me they thought I would make a good nurse," Levey said.
He was skeptical, but his wife, Adrianna, signed him up for nursing assistant classes.
"I told him, try it, if you don't like it, drop out," she said.
"I fell in love with it," Levey said.
The title on his badge at Payson Regional Medical Center now reads CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant).
"Seeing other nurses, especially male nurses in the field, made me want to go on and become a nurse and help the ill and injured who need help the most," Levey said."Because Payson is a small town, you meet people when you are out and about who come up and say thanks for helping my mother, brother, friend.
"That is when you know you have made a difference."
It will be another year before Levey will sit for his state nursing boards to become a licensed practical nurse. He is undaunted by the fact that he will be 55 years old by the time he completes his studies, tests and obtains the title, Registered Nurse.
Levey ticks off the reasons on his fingers:
The average age of an RN in the United States is 48.
People are living longer.
A lot of people do jobs they don't like, so when you find something you love, you should go for it.
Levey is grateful, as he continues his nursing studies, for his first career as an electrical engineer. Engineering taught him to think logically.
But he is most grateful for "Adri," his wife of nine years and his "biggest supporter," he said, with a tear in his eye and a soft smile just for her. The two are renewing their vows on Sunday.
Hometown: Teaneck, N.J.
Occupation: Certified nursing assistant
When did you move to Strawberry and what brought you here? 1996. There was no graffiti. I co-owned Jackalope Books in Payson.
What's the biggest risk you've taken recently? Going back to college at age 49.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? When I told James, an employee at Wal-Mart, I was going to have to go to school for three years or more to become a nurse, he said, "Just start, and three years from now, instead of looking back and saying ‘I should have started,' you can say, ‘Gee, I am that much closer to my goal.'"
Three things you want people to know about you: When you have a goal, do not give up. When I do something, I appreciate getting credit. When you are in the hospital, there is someone who cares.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? My mother passed away when I was young, but I remember when I was 7 years old, she and I made a shirt. From that point on I wanted to be someone who made clothes ... or maybe Robin Hood.
Hobby: Puzzles that challenge the mind and playing computer video games with my grandson.
Food: Anything my wife cooks.
Dream vacation spot: Hawaii or an Alaska cruise
Music: The 1960s through 1980s.
Movie: "Last of the Mohicans"