SHELBYVILLE, Ky. – Three months after the coronavirus outbreak hit the bluegrass state, the Kentucky National Guard continues supporting four COVID-19 drive-thru test sites in Bowling Green, Louisville, Shelbyville, and Lexington.
The Kentucky Guard is also providing Soldiers and Airmen at three call centers, two food banks and a warehouse storing personal protective equipment. Other Guard members are helping with election support and performing temperature scans at two security checkpoints.
The Guard has been answering the call with more than 240 troops on orders each day throughout the pandemic. Supporting free COVID-19 testing is the largest operation.
The new drive-thru site in Shelbyville, as with most others, will stay open for only a few days before the team moves to another location next week. This, according to 1st Sgt. Dylan Molohon, noncommissioned officer in charge at the Shelbyville site, has been a challenge.
In Shelbyville, the Guard is working with Kentucky State Police, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and Kroger Little Clinic.
“The state police provides law enforcement, local sheriffs provide access to emergency management, and Guardsmen control traffic in and out of the facility,” Molohon said. “Of course, the Kroger Little Clinic provides testing supplies, administrators and nurses to facilitate all COVID-19 testing.”
About 40 to 45 people are assisting, including 15 to 18 members of the Guard, Molohon said.
“At each site, we are fortunate to have the pleasure of working with and learning from many professionals coming from different organizations,” said Molohon. “But, this also creates a challenge as we move around [to new sites]; because new faces bring new strategies for how we run our mission.”
He said flexibility, adaptability and personal experience are key to the success of his team, which has been working together since March. This is their fifth drive-thru test location.
Even though the locations, the scenery and the management might change, members of the public going through the process at any site may have a similar experience.
Spc. Robert Acosta, a musician assigned to 202nd Army Band, took pride in his mission and the opportunity to serve a community close to home.
“The reason I joined was to serve the community,” said Acosta while directing cars through the Shelbyville site. “I live in Louisville and drill in Frankfort, so this is the first time I have been able to serve this close to home. I never thought I would be working like this during a pandemic. It has been an eye-opening experience.”