In fiscal year 2020, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers contributed roughly 820,000 service hours, including 650,000 hours dedicated to COVID-19 response. In celebration of National Volunteer Month, and this, National Volunteer Week, we are highlighting just a few of the more than 180,000 volunteers who have made the incredible work of the MRC network possible.
Prince George’s County Health Department MRC, Largo, MD
Looking to help out in any way she could with combating COVID-19, LaNeigh Jones started volunteering with the Prince George’s County MRC in July of 2020. A non-medical volunteer who is pursuing becoming a physician’s assistant, LaNeigh started by supporting the COVID Cares program, which provides packaged foods to those who are awaiting their test results or have tested positive for COVID-19. She also worked with the rabies program, providing filing and phone support. More recently LaNeigh has assisted with COVID vaccination clinics, serving as a runner and helping with communications among staff and with patients.
LaNeigh volunteered three-to-four days a week initially and is now volunteering one-to-two days a week depending on her work schedule. She appreciates meeting different types of people in her MRC volunteer role, as well as the exposure it gives her to different types of work.
“Go with an open mind,” said LaNeigh. “Sign up for what you really want to do—you’ll be surprised at how beneficial you are, even in a minor job.”
Washington County MRC, Hillsboro, OR
Teri Mills has been a Washington County MRC volunteer since last April. As a nurse, she serves as the medical lead for the unit, overseeing the medical component including vaccinators, vaccine control, and vaccine assistants. In this capacity Teri identifies and troubleshoots issues, makes sure communication is ongoing, and ensures expectations are clear. The unit has assisted with well over a dozen COVID-19 vaccination clinics so far with many more scheduled in partnership with the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue and the Washington County Public Health Department. Teri assisted with flu clinics previously, which served as practice for these clinics.
“The community response has been incredible,” said Teri. “There’s nothing more gratifying then seeing the expressions of those we’re able to help.”
“Serving as an MRC volunteer is a way to use all of our education and skills and put them to tremendous use,” said Teri. “It’s a way to give back to those not as fortunate in our community.”
Mid Ohio Valley MRC, Parkersburg, WV
Ed Goe has been a volunteer with the Mid Ohio Valley MRC for about 10 years and that service really picked up starting in June of last year. A retired school administrator, Ed has been volunteering two-to-three times a week, first helping with COVID testing, then with flu clinics, and now with COVID vaccination. The day begins around 7:30 am and goes until 5:30 or 6:00 pm. Ed assists with traffic outside, directing people into the clinic. “It’s a fun day, I enjoy it,” said Ed.
“There are a lot of different opportunities to get involved,” said Ed. “I work with a group of wonderful people at the health department—very kind and giving people, both staff and volunteers.”
Ed has always liked to do volunteer work. His other activities have included collecting minor incidence reports for the local police department and construction work in a homeless mission.
Pierce County MRC, Tacoma, WA
A retired pediatrician, Judy Thierry started volunteering with the Pierce County MRC in May of last year.
“The pandemic created such a high need and I wanted to do my part,” said Judy.
She started out as a case contact tracer, later helping with drive-thru flu clinics, and now COVID-19 vaccination. She currently volunteers twice a week, often doing an eight-to-ten-hour shift. She’s performed a variety of roles at vaccination clinics including clinical screening, vaccination, symptom check, and helping to train nursing students.
Judy describes this as an opportune time to become part of the MRC community as units respond to the current crisis and prepare for whatever comes next. “It’s very engaging and responsive,” said Judy. “We’re building community awareness and readiness. People are very appreciative.”