From South Sudan to South Burlington: Alex Pial’s Journey to a Rewarding Career in Healthcare

For Alex Pial, LNA, caring for others is deeply rooted in who he is and where he comes from.

Pial is the latest winner of the Employee Spotlight Award—a new Home Health & Hospice initiative to recognize our hardworking and compassionate employees.

For the past 17 years, Pial has dedicated his life to caring for Home Health & Hospice clients. After short stints in private care and home health, Pial found his eventual “home” working at South Burlington Community Housing, an independent living community for adults with permanent disabilities.

“I learn something new every single day. I learn from the nurses, my coworkers, supervisors and the people I care for,” Pial said. “I love my job.”

For him, a job is more than a way to make money. Growing up in Sudan—now South Sudan—Pial experienced a long-fought civil war. He saw people die. He saw people suffer from sickness. He saw how easily people could have been cured if they had access to medication and care.

“We were living hand-to-mouth every single day and there was no sanitation, no clean water, no medication,” Pial said. “All of that contributes to me saying I need to work in healthcare. So I can care for people; I want to make them happy.”

Making people smile is just one of his many talents.

“He comes in with a positive attitude every day,” site supervisor Christine Hale said. “He’s always encouraging the team, and he has the patience of a saint. He’s the epitome of a good caregiver: reliable, trustworthy and confident in his skills.”
As Pial’s children grow up, he is teaching them about what healthcare access looks like in other countries.

He is showing them they are lucky—and also that they have a choice to do something with their lives that’s good for others. “Because you’ll get a reward from it,” he tells them.

As our cultural landscape in Vermont becomes more diverse, Pial hopes it will bring varying perspectives to help us improve care for others.

“Our organization is over 100 years old now—we changed our name and we want to keep the new name, and our mission, alive with the good work we are doing,” Pial said.

This story was first published in our winter community newsletter, Healthcare Comes Home. To see the full newsletter, click here.