Michigan National Guard
Story by Master Sgt. David Kujawa
MARQUETTE, Mich. -- The Michigan National Guard (MING) and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) conducted a joint event vaccinating more than 290 military veterans 50 and older, their spouses, and caregivers who are 50 and older. The event was held at the Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, on March 22.
Eight MING COVID-19 Testing/Teams (CVTT) from Task Force North, made up of one combat medic and two supporting administrative personnel, assisted and ensured the Marquette health care agency hadadequate personnel to perform various roles at the clinic. Vaccinators, assistants, and post-vaccination observers helped keep the process flowing smoothly.
U.S. Army Capt. Robert Daza, commander, 460th Chemical Company, Fort Custer, Michigan, now serving as the MING Future Operations Orders Production officer in charge, said, “I have a close bond to all personnel who served prior to me. I will be a non-active duty veteran some day and I hope to have the same first class treatment the MING and MVAA is providing to our veterans.”
The enthusiasm was running high between the veterans coming in to receive the vaccine and those administering it.
“Many of the veterans coming in today proudly wearing their well-worn duty station hats, jackets and pins, thanked us for what we’re doing but we are quick to thank them for what they did,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Amanda Livingston, noncommissioned officer in charge for Task Force North Bravo combat medics.
The City of Marquette is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula making the campus an ideal location, particularly for under-serviced rural areas that don’t have nearby Veterans Affairs facilities.
“Creating this clinic was a high priority for the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We believe anyone who has worn the uniform of our nation is a member for life, so high-quality care and benefits for our veterans could not be more meaningful to us as we continually seek to honor and serve those who have served before us.”
“Currently Task Force North CVTTs serving our northern Michigan communities are administering more than 10,000 vaccines weekly,” said Livingston. “Making the vaccine convenient for people, many being veterans living in some very rural areas, is key to saving lives.”
The MING and MVAA are currently considering scheduling veteran vaccination clinics at other locations around the state.
“Having the opportunity to work with the great team from the MVAA at getting the vaccine out to our vets is a great experience for all of us wearing a uniform,” said Daza. “Last week, I received my second vaccine dose and all Michigan veterans past and present will soon be safe from contracting the coronavirus.”