INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in northeast Indiana helped conduct a statewide COVID-19 testing study April 24-29.
Gov. Eric Holcomb activated the Indiana National Guard March 16 to support the COVID-19 state response. Soldiers and Airmen served as medical assets and provided additional personnel for testing site logistics. For some service members, this mission hit closer to home as they performed their duties in the Hoosier communities in which they live.
Sgt. Chanden Lawson, with the 381st Military Police Company and noncommissioned officer in charge of one of the mobile testing sites, was one of those service members. Raised in Wolcottville, Lawson felt honored to serve in multiple neighboring communities.
“Being in the National Guard and getting to perform stateside, I finally get to serve my community,” said Lawson.
He emphasized that members of his team worked hard to keep morale high, enjoy themselves and make each test participant feel comfortable.
“We are staying as positive as we can even though this is serious, and we are taking our jobs seriously,” said Lawson. “But if we are laughing and smiling, people will be less likely to feel intimidated. We are here to help.”
While military and civilian personnel with differing backgrounds comprised the testing teams, the mission provided the opportunity to develop camaraderie and share knowledge while helping fellow Hoosiers.
The study, led by Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, intended to identify the presence of COVID-19 and virus antibodies throughout the state. Partners included the Indiana Department of Public Health.