Many people may not know much about the pharmacist when they drop by the pharmacy to drop off or pick up a prescription. Many may not know the people working behind the counter and what is all involved beyond putting pills in a bottle. In this installment of “Getting to Know”, exclusive in the Martin County Journal, you will get to know Ashley (Walker) Graber, your Williams Bros. Pharmacist.
Ashley is a Loogootee native and the daughter of the late George and the late Linda (Summers) Walker. She graduated from Loogootee High School in 1994 and attended the University of Evansville for two years before transferring to Butler University for their College of Pharmacy. She graduated from Butler in 2001 after four years with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
She married her high school sweetheart Dan Graber in 2000. Dan was also born and raised in Loogootee. After living in Indianapolis for two years after college, the couple decided to move back to Loogootee to raise kids and be near family. Together they have two sons Samuel, age four and a half and Joseph age three, both adopted from Guatemala.
Ashley says she became a pharmacist due to her interest in the health care profession and her passion for chemistry. “I have always worked with the public and it is my passion,” she said. She added that it is also a great career for women with a family because of the flexibility in the hours and the availability of jobs.
Ashley began with Williams Bros. as a staff pharmacist in 2002 in Washington. She became manager of the retail pharmacy in 2005. She was offered the opportunity to transfer to the new Loogootee location as store and pharmacy manager in 2009. “I truly enjoy being back in my hometown, seeing a lot of faces I grew up with and many new faces, and being in a job I love and have such a passion for,” she said.
Since being a pharmacist doesn’t just involve filling prescriptions, Ashley explained some of the other duties of her and her staff. She said that a lot goes on behind the counter besides counting and labeling that most wouldn’t know about or understand when they come in. She said that interaction checks are a big part of the day which is making sure medicines are safe when combined with those patients are already taking. “This is why it is good to know your pharmacist and stay with one pharmacy when possible,” she said.
Other things included in an average day are phone calls, voicemails, faxes, electronic transmission of prescriptions, medication compounding, organizing prescriptions, processing the daily order into inventory, restocking over-the-counter products, processing invoices, reconciling registers, contacting insurance companies, coordinating with doctor’s offices, delivering medications, and answering questions and helping customers, whom Ashley continuously referred to as friends.
Ashley said she couldn’t do any of it without her dedicated staff. Allison (Colvin) Taylor is the lead technician and has been with WB since 2007 transferring to the Loogootee location in 2009. She is a certified pharmacy technician with the state and is responsible for filled prescriptions, maintaining inventory, assisting customers, and she is cross-trained in the equipment area.
Maura Page is Ashley’s counterpart pharmacist. Maura graduated from Purdue University and has been with Williams Bros. since 2009. “She keeps the place running while I am off having fun with my two sweet boys,” said Ashley. Maura fills in as manager on Ashley’s days off.
Renaee Keller is a customer service representative and just recently started with Williams Bros. in May of this year. She is currently working toward becoming a certified technician and is responsible for fitting braces, billing insurance for equipment, processing the daily order, and assisting in the pharmacy.
Ted Yarnell is the DME technician and began with WB in November of 2008. Ashley said he has a passion for helping those with medical needs and he is responsible for maintaining the equipment for patient use and delivering medication to patient’s homes.
Blake Walker is the store’s part-time cashier. Ashley said her interest in attending pharmacy school is what led her to Williams Bros. in 2009. She is in charge of assisting the pharmacy staff and customers, processing the daily order, cleaning, and returns.
Ashley said the best thing about being a pharmacist is being an easily-accessible health care professional. “It is rewarding to help a patient with a question to ease their mind if possible. I am passionate about getting to know my customers; it helps me do my job better,” she said. “Working in my hometown has made this easier than ever. So the best thing about being a pharmacist is simply helping customers who have become our friends.”
She said the worst thing about being a pharmacist, if she had to choose one, would be working weekends.
Pharmacists can sometimes face a multitude of complaints from the average customer. Ashley said that insurance is one thing that most people don’t understand because the pharmacists are just the ‘middle man’ with the insurance companies. Ashley said that the pharmacy doesn’t set the co-pays or rate structures but they are responsible for trying to interpret and explain it to the customers.
When asked if there is an over-the-counter medicine that should become a prescription, Ashley said, in her opinion, Pepcid OTC because it has some interactions with medications. She said she is sure to counsel patients if she sells it.
She added that Sudafed products would possibly be another medicine she would suggest requiring prescription. (Sudafed contains pseudoephedrine which is used in the making of methamphetamine and is has been widely used as a readily-available medicine for young people to ‘get high’ on.) She noted that, in some state, this is already a law.
As far as prescription products to be made over-the-counter, Ashley said there are few that would be safe. She said that she prefers the option to counsel on medications and that having the RX status just makes it that much easier.
Ashley said that some items offered by Williams Bros. that everyone may not know about are delivery of medications every day to Shoals and Loogootee, the pharmacy accepts all major insurance plans, all existing medications can be transferred from any pharmacy without a new order from the doctor, prescriptions can be automatically refilled and the pharmacy can give you a call when they are ready, the pharmacy can also coordinate prescriptions so they come due for refill at the same time, ending several trips to town; and refills can be done through touch-tone telephone by calling 812-295-4370 and following the prompts. Williams Bros. also offers competitive prices including many generics with a 90-day prescription for only $9.95. They also have a full-line of over-the-counter products including herbal options, custom-fit diabetic shoes and support hosiery, oxygen set-up and delivery, respiratory equipment such as nebulizers and c-pap equipment, and durable medical equipment including walkers, wheelchairs, canes, and bathroom safety equipment.
Williams Bros is a locally owned and operated business. Currently the owners, Mark, Jeff, and CC Williams live and work in Washington carrying on the tradition of pharmacy in their family since 1899. Ashley said you can stop by Loogootee anytime and you may see one or all of their faces. “Working alongside the owners of this business has taught me to value each customer and provide the best service possible,” she said. Williams Bros. is located at 104 E. Broadway Street in Loogootee.
Williams Bros. Pharmacist Ashley (Walker) Graber, shown in front, works with her pharmacy tech Allison (Colvin) Taylor on an insurance issue for an awaiting customer on Tuesday. Ashley, a Loogootee native and the pharmacy’s manager, transferred to the Loogootee store from Washington when it opened in 2009.