Michigan National Guard
Story by Master Sgt. David Kujawa
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan National Guard’s Task Force North is currently vaccinating more than 7,500 Michigan residents weekly. Two vaccination sites, 30 miles apart in northern Michigan, Grayling and Gaylord, ran concurrently March 13-14.
Task Force North, consisting of 12 COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams (CVTT) and made up of one medic and two supporting administrative personnel, assist local health care departments withadministering vaccinations to northern Michigan counties stretching from Saginaw through the state’s Upper Peninsula.
“Our small department of 12 employees and several volunteers could never accomplish the task of vaccinating the residents of our county without the assistance of the Michigan National Guard (MING),” said Lisa Burmeister, a social worker and site team director for Crawford County Health Department, located in Grayling. “The Soldiers are directing traffic, helping at processing our immunization register and administering the vaccinations. They are conducting business in the most professional manner.”
Michigan Guard CVTTs support vaccination sites at many different venues across Michigan as requested by the local health departments.
“I could not feel better about what I am doing today,” said U.S. Army Spc. Carson Horning, a combat medic mobilized with Task Force North since Jan. 21, 2021. “It’s ironic that were administering the vaccine at the Grayling Fire House. The coronavirus was like a fire out of control and now I think we have it controlled and soon it will be put out.”
As 2021 began, MING doubled down on their commitment to the safety of Michigan communities by doing everything possible in making the vaccine as accessible as possible.
“Convenience is important for our residents and having sites set up strategically is important in many of the rural areas of northern Michigan,” said Lisa Peacock, a health officer for Otsego County HealthDepartment in Gaylord. “Planning these events would be far more complicated without the MING’s assisting in the planning, setting up, and working the vaccination sites.”
The Soldiers and Airmen with the MING have spent several months testing for COVID-19 throughout the state, assisting in food banks, and working at regional care facilities. In recent months, the MING begansupporting Michigan’s vaccination efforts.
“Fighting the coronavirus is something to be proud of,” said Horning. “I enjoy meeting and working with the health care workers and we’re all in this together to help our fellow Michiganders.”
“This is history that we will read about in years to come and I will always feel good about the part I played.”