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Rewarding a Peer Recovery Specialist who goes above and beyond for others

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Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 18:37:24-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Michael Braswell's boss asked him to come into the office to pick something up on Friday, and when he arrived, he suddenly found himself being interviewed by CBS 6's Melissa Hipolit, on camera.

She pretended to ask him questions about what it was like doing his job during COVID-19, when she finally revealed the true reason she was there: to thank Braswell for his hard work as part of CBS 6 Gives, with the help of our friends at Virginia Credit Union.

Braswell is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist with the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority who can relate to his clients as he used to be in recovery himself, and understands mental health struggles.

Since the pandemic began in March, Braswell has had to completely revamp the way he provides services.

Pre-COVID, clients would come into the RBHA office to see Braswell, but now he strictly goes out into the community and visits with clients at their homes.

"Braswell has assisted Individuals with transportation getting to the office for medical appointments, delivering items for service provision, and overall continuing to provide face to face support for the Individuals we serve," Shenee McCray, the Chief Operating Officer - Mental Health at RBHA said.

"Throughout it all, Mike has been flexible, willing to shift his responsibilities without complaint, and continues to go above and beyond to meet the needs of the RBHA and the Individuals we serve."

When Hipolit revealed the reason she was actually interviewing Braswell on camera, she thanked him for his hard work, and gave him $100 worth of gift cards to one of his favorite restaurants: CAVA.

Braswell expressed his shock and said his supervisor really surprised him.

"Thank you so much. I enjoy what I do. I came a long way since I came through these doors in 2009," said Braswell. "It feels great to be recognized for the services you provide... obviously the supervisors and managers here, they do that. I just thank them for doing this for me. This was a big surprise for me and I'm so, so thankful."

Braswell promised to pay it forward.

You can watch previous CBS 6 Gives segments here.

Watch for a new CBS 6 Gives surprise each Monday on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Have an idea about who we should surprise next, click here to email our team.

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