XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Hundreds of volunteers were recognized by Greene County Public Health Friday for their COVID-19 pandemic response.
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Greene County unit has been active since 2004, responding to both local and national disasters. In 2020, their mission shifted to provide thousand of hours in aid for the county’s fight against COVID-19.
“These volunteers have really helped maintain the health of our community,” Greene County Medical Reserve Corps unit leader Dr. Don Brannen said.
MRC volunteers started helping Public Health as early as January 2020 to develop COVID-19 response plans and prepare for outbreaks.
In total, 524 MRC, Citizen’s Corps (CC), and CERT volunteers have devoted 13,412 hours to pandemic response.
That includes assisting Greene County Public Health in administering 80,000 vaccines.
“The value of that volunteer time, we’ve estimated, is over $400,000,” Brannen said. “That’s an amazing amount of service that these volunteers have given.”
The volunteers come from both medical and non-medical backgrounds.
Retired nurse Kim Carlson volunteered to give out the vaccine.
“I was retired, and I didn’t feel like I’d done anything useful at all for the pandemic, and you know, why not?” Carlson said.
Carlson said it was a great experience to feel like she was making a difference with each shot she gave out.
“They were thrilled to come in,” Carlson said. “Some people cried, some people were just so delighted, yeah it was great.”
Now, greene county public health doesn’t need volunteers because interest in the vaccine has fallen, even though the county’s COVID-19 cases are back on the rise.
If the surge continues, Brannen said the volunteers are ready to help once again.
“We are seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 in the region because of the new variant, the delta variant, so hopefully we don’t have to use the volunteers again for that purpose, but if we have to, we’ll call and they’ll answer the call to serve,” Brannen said.
While their role in giving out the vaccine may be over now, MRC is always in need of volunteers both with and without medical backgrounds.
To find out more about how to volunteer, click here.