Ann Arbor Archives - StoryCorps

For Old Friends, Hospital Work Brings New Challenges During COVID-19

Josh Belser and Sam Dow have always had a way of looking out for each other. The longtime friends first met in the early 80s, when they were young kids growing up in a suburb outside Tampa, Florida. 

As adults, they each pursued a career in medicine: Josh as a nurse in Syracuse, New York, and Sam as a health technician in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

When COVID-19 hit, they both found their work lives dramatically altered by one of the most deadly global pandemics in a century.

With almost 400 miles between them, Josh and Sam used StoryCorps’ new remote recording platform, StoryCorps Connect, to talk about their decades-long friendship, and how they continue to support each other, especially during this difficult time.

Top photo: Sam Dow at his job in Ann Arbor, Michigan and his friend Josh Belser at work in Syracuse, NY in 2020. Courtesy of Josh Belser.
Second photo: Josh Belser in 1985 with his best friend, Sam Dow, in Brandon, FL where they grew up together. Courtesy of Josh Belser.

Originally aired April 17, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Barbara Handelsman and Aaron Handelsman

Growing up, Barbara Handelsman often felt out of sync with her family.

At StoryCorps, Barbara, 80, talks with her grandson Aaron, 20, about how the two of them have always had a special relationship that includes unconditionally accepting each other for who they are, and finding adventures to go on together.

Barbara passed away two years after this interview was recorded.

Originally aired October 11, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Ralph Catania and Colbert Williams

Colbert Williams (R) talks with Ralph Catania (L), his fifth grade math teacher who later became his legal guardian, about going to live with Ralph at the age of 15.