The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers, organized into local units to improve the health and safety of their communities, especially in times of natural disasters and other emergencies. The MRC network comprises more than 190,000 volunteers in roughly 800 units located throughout the United States and its territories. Now in its 13th year, the Upper Valley MRC (Unit 1776) is one of only a handful of bi-state units in the U.S. and currently has 156 active members.
MRCs Respond to COVID Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed our volunteers to take a particularly visible and active role in the response to the virus. From April to December 2020, Upper Valley MRC members supported weekly district COVID-19 testing clinics in White River Junction and Springfield (VT) helping to triage clients at the sites, assisting with computer-based intake functions, and even performing tests. Our members contributed more than 1,000 hours of volunteer support in these positions.
Now as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout focuses on the immunization of older adults, Upper Valley MRC clinicians are assisting with vaccine administration and clinic support duties as part of weekly district clinics in White River Junction and Randolph. Below, intake worker and MRC volunteer Jed G. sanitizes clipboards for client use.
Volunteers Value Being of Service
Richard W., an MRC member who has helped with triage and intake roles, says this about being compelled to volunteer after reading about the MRC in an area newspaper: “I felt a burning desire to use some of my free time to be of service to our state and community to help in any way that I could. I signed up and the experience has been great, and so rewarding.” With similar sentiments, Deborah P. says she has volunteered at the vaccine clinics “to support my fellow Vermonters and my community.”
Kristin B., a clinician serving as a volunteer vaccinator shares, “It’s a privilege and a joy to be able to do something tangible to overcome the pain and suffering caused by COVID-19 infection. It is so satisfying to meet each patient and now that [once fully vaccinated] they’ll be on the road to protection.”
Another clinician, Susan M. who is a retired physician’s assistant, offers that she volunteers with the MRC because, “It feels good to utilize my medical skills and engage with my community in this worthwhile and gratifying way.”
MRC Volunteers Still Needed
There is still a need to grow the Upper Valley MRC’s membership to continue in the COVID-19 response, as well as prepare for future emergencies. To learn more about joining the Upper Valley Medical Reserve Corps, please email uppervalleyMRC@gmail.com. Information is also available on our webpage.