CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There are some underappreciated heroes to thank for making COVID-19 vaccinations happen in the Blue Ridge Health District.
When vaccines started rolling out across the BRHD, it became clear it was going to take a village to get shots in arms. Hundreds of volunteers quickly stepped into crucial roles at clinics and behind the scenes to get the community back to normal.
“It’s been great. I think with each immunization we give, we feel that we are one step closer to returning to the normal that we all desire and miss,” Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer Nurse Caroline Sullivan said.
Sullivan is one of the many nurses on the front lines volunteering to vaccinate.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that I am needed,” she said.
When Sullivan was asked to help as part of the Medical Reserve Corps, she knew right away what her answer would be.
“Even though it’s a national service, it’s the details of the local community that are so impressively pulled together and coordinated,” she said.
Sprint Pavilion General Manager Kirby Hutto has been waiting a long time for business as usual.
“I can’t get back to work until we get people vaccinated so we can gather in large groups again,” Hutto said. That’s why he decided to step up and volunteer on BRHD’s vaccine hotline.
“I’ve got time on my hands. I figured this was a way I could help, so I’m happy to come down and volunteer some time,” he said.
Hutto says being a volunteer on the phone lines has taught him to be more patient.
“I think sometimes you don’t respect how many people aren’t on email and who are depending just on landline telephone since we cover such a large area in central Virginia,” he said.
Hutto says he also helps a lot of people with special needs set their appointments. “It’s great to be able to help them and get them through the process and get them on the calendar,” he said.
Both Sullivan and Hutto say it is energizing to know they are getting the community back on track.
“By the time someone sits down next to me they are just filled with gratitude,” Sullivan said. “I like to match that excitement for them and answer any questions they have and send them on their way, one step closer to feeling like they can return to the activities that they so miss.”