Support of Ohio National Guard, State Defense Force members proved critical to hospitals during recent COVID-19 spike
Story by Staff Sgt. Aven Santiago, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (05/11/22)
The staffing support provided by members of the Ohio National Guard and State Defense Force was the helping hand that many hospitals and communities needed during the spike of COVID-19 cases around the state from December into early this year.
More than 2,000 Soldiers and Airmen were activated by Gov. Mike DeWine during that timeframe to help relieve hospitals and health care facilities, which welcomed the assistance due to employee shortages and illnesses.
“We thank the members of the Ohio National Guard for your tireless efforts during the pandemic,” said DeWine during his State of the State address in March. “Our Guard members responded to every call during the pandemic … preventing a crisis in care during the Omicron (COVID-19 variant) surge.”
The personnel served many different functions during their in-state mobilization, deploying to more than 60 hospitals and nearly 20 COVID-19 testing sites across the state. Some of the duties performed included patient monitoring and transportation, staffing and administration, testing and vaccinations, and food distribution.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, over 5,000 Ohio National Guard and State Defense Force members served on more than 70 varied missions in support of local, county and state partners.
“It was very important because in the emergency department, you need fast, timely mannered things,” said Sgt. Jose Brown, a noncommissioned officer with the Ohio Army National Guard’s Company B, 638th Support Battalion. “I was helping with the environmental group, so I was cleaning the rooms and helping with some of the trauma that was going on, but (our help) definitely relieved a lot of stress (for) both the environmental group and nurses.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, over 5,000 Ohio National Guard and State Defense Force members served on more than 70 varied missions in support of local, county and state partners. All missions were completed by the end of March this year.
When it comes to serving in the military, missions and deployments often come with ribbons, awards and recognition. But for many of the members who supported this mission, being able to serve their community was its own reward.
“It’s really special, serving local; it really brought it home,” said Spc. Julie Schlosser, a Soldier with Co. B., 638th Support Battalion who was on the hospital support mission. “Just knowing I’m serving other people that live around me, but also friends (and) family members, it brought it home for me. So, it was a cool impact.”