OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma National Guard members have been working with health care providers in their communities for more than a month to support Oklahoma's response to COVID-19.
At the Oklahoma State Fair Park, in Oklahoma City, Service members from the Oklahoma National Guard acted as runners for nurses with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department at an appointment-only testing facility April 28. The nurses have tested more than 3,500 Oklahomans since March 25.
For the past two weeks, Guard members have packaged and labeled the test swabs for another Oklahoma National Guard team to pick up and deliver to the diagnostic laboratory at Oklahoma State University.
"It's important because it just shows how civilians and the Guard can work together and work as a community. After all, the Guard is in our community and they represent us," said Lynnda Parker, critical operations manager at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and testing site manager. "They're all excellent, and they're willing to help with anything. They stepped right in after just a few minutes and have been part of the team ever since."
The Guard members were able to use their military training to work alongside frontline nurses and help their fellow Oklahomans.
"It does feel excellent," said Spc. Azmorea Herring, combat medic/healthcare specialist with the 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command. "I like to give back to my community. That's part of why I joined the Oklahoma National Guard. [The nurses] are very forgiving and very patient with all the members of our community, and I want to be like them. One day I'm going to school to be a nurse, so I can't wait to give back more to my state."