“Getting us closer to living the lives we want”
Charged with the daunting task of delivering much needed vaccinations to the citizens of our fair county, District Health Department #10 put out a call for volunteers to help with the massive project.
N3 appreciates the work being done by those who have rolled up their sleeves to help others roll up their sleeves.
We asked Jane Drake from DHD#10 about the value of the volunteers.
“Our staff can’t say enough about our amazing volunteers. They have not only been great to work with, they also help lift everyone’s spirits. This has been such a long haul. It’s been a real boost to the staff to have people coming in from the community who want to get involved and are so eager to pitch in to help beat back this disease.
“Since the start of the year, DHD#10 had over 400 COVID-19 vaccination clinics, and given out more than 83,000 vaccines. There’s no way our small staff could have done all this and still be standing without the help of the volunteers.
“In Newaygo County alone, over 11,000 vaccines have already been given out and we’ve had some of the largest clinics in the district with up to 700 patients scheduled. It just wouldn’t have been possible without these wonderful folk who selflessly donate their time to help all of us get on top of this pandemic.”
Ms. Drake put us in contact with one of their valiant volunteers to pose a few questions on how they came to join the DHD#10 crew and why they decided to lend a hand.
Dianne Taylor-Chandler has lived in White Cloud since 2010. Originally from Canada, she moved progressively southward working in various positions for American Airlines/Sabre (AA’s computer division) for 33 years. She and her husband, Charles Chandler, retired here from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to spend more time fishing for steelhead and salmon in West Michigan’s outstanding rivers. She has volunteered locally with Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, North Country National Scenic Trail, and Reeling & Healing, an organization that provides fly fishing wellness retreats in Michigan for women 18 and over battling and surviving cancer.
What do you do when not volunteering?
Play pickleball, hike, travel domestically and internationally (pre-Covid), and less fly fishing since taking up Pickleball.
What brought you to this particular project?
As a volunteer on the Newaygo County Emergency Service – Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), we are periodically asked to support our local District Health Department (DHD#10) initiatives, such as the pop-up Covid testing events and vaccination clinics. Since being fully vaccinated by mid-February, I was delighted for the opportunity to volunteer at these clinics and have worked 2 full days a week, accruing over 100 hours.
What has surprised you the most?
How demonstrably excited (even to the point of happy tears) that many people are to finally be able to get vaccinated and decrease the risk of getting severely sick with Covid or passing it on to others, especially high-risk friends or family members, and some things they will be able to do once fully vaccinated.
What have been the biggest challenges?
Keeping up with handing out and helping people complete the registration paperwork when occasionally a surge of people show up at the same time. However, I have found (and many people have commented) that the Newaygo County DHD#10 clinics are very well organized, efficient and staffed by caring administration and nurses/doctors.
What has been the most satisfying?
Helping make the upfront process in order to receive the vaccination as simple and efficient as possible and helping the nurses monitor folks that are extremely anxious about getting shots or have had severe allergic reactions previously to a variety of things. The nursing staff is always on high alert to address any symptoms that might rarely occur.
Have you been immunized? How would you respond to those who are still undecided about the Vax?
My husband and I were both anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get the vaccination and gain as much immunity to the Covid-19 virus as possible. We had strictly followed the CDC recommendations for staying safe and basically stayed home to limit external interactions, masked as called for, and sanitized most material goods entering our home (not how any of us are used to or want to continue living our lives). Fortunately we did not contract the virus but continue to recognize how stealthy it can be and how easily one can be exposed and get mild to life-threateningly sick, often with residual effects.
As soon as the vaccine was available for the 65+ general population, we jumped on the DHD#10 website to book an appointment in White Cloud and received our first dose on January 11, the second dose on February 1. Our reactions to each dose were minimal – a sore arm for a couple of days and mild fatigue. Most of us have had preventive vaccinations for other things, some of which were more bothersome, and yet we get them anyway because we know they help us avoid undesirable diseases or conditions.
I’ll admit to some apprehension given these are new vaccines developed to fight a virus like no other seen in most of our lifetimes but I just have to talk to someone who had the virus and may have residual effects or see a picture of someone in the hospital fighting for their life, and that hesitation disappears. I don’t want to get that sick or risk passing it on to anyone else.
I believe these vaccinations are our best line of defense to build immunity against this devious virus and once fully vaccinated, some of the restrictions loosen such as being able to reunite with other fully vaccinated friends and family, dining out in compliant restaurants, etc.
I volunteer at the Health Department clinics to help make those who come to be vaccinated have their experience go as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and I always thank those folks for stepping up and getting the vaccine. Please consider getting vaccinated and help us all get closer to living the lives we want.
Thank you for your time Ms. Taylor-Chandler.
And thank you for all you do.