NEWS | May 3, 2021

Michigan Soldier solidifies citizenship through service

By Master Sgt. David Kujawa, Michigan National Guard

FLINT, Mich. – Born in China, Michigan Army National Guard Spc. Melissa Bellgreen arrived in the United States at age 1 through the international adoption process. She became an American citizen when she was 8 years old. Now, as a Citizen-Soldier, she has answered her call to duty in the fight against COVID-19.

“I always felt like an American throughout the years, but serving as a MING Soldier has completely solidified my U.S. citizenship,” Bellgreen said. “Two years ago, I put the MING uniform on, and every day I get smiles and waves from complete strangers.”

Joining MING was an easy choice for her as it came with the opportunity to serve while remaining close to her family in Michigan. She became a combat medic with the 1171st Medical Company Area Support Battalion based in Ypsilanti and has served since spring 2020 with MING’s Task Force Spartan COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Team (CVTT).

In May 2020, the Michigan National Guard started fulfilling requests from the Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Corrections to help test state prison inmates for COVID-19. In the first week, Guard members tested more than 7,300 inmates, as well as residents and employees of long-term care facilities.

“Being part of the first wave of mobilizations to fight the pandemic has given me the opportunity to experience the full power and speed of MING’s ability to serve the citizens of the state,” Bellgreen said.

In early January, the testing teams transitioned to vaccination teams. Bellgreen has administered more than 4,000 vaccinations.

“I could not feel a closer relationship to my community since I’ve become part of the Task Force Spartan CVTT,” she said. “I enlisted to do more in my community and serve my country, and that’s exactly what I’m doing!”

Others have noted her contributions to the task force and to the mission.

“I have been working with Bellgreen as her site leader, and she is dependable, works well with county health workers, and is enthusiastic about her mission,” said Spc. Charles Bates, an electrician for the 1436th Engineering Company now serving with Task Force Spartan.

In her civilian job, Bellgreen works for Genesee County as a certified emergency medical technician in Flint. She plans to study computer science at Purdue University Global and has further ambitions with her military service as an active-duty U.S. Army member.

“I am very proud of what I have done on behalf of the MING for my fellow Michiganders. I am looking forward to serving my country and communities for the next couple of decades as a proud American Soldier,” she said.