During the COVID-19 pandemic, Deschutes County was praised for distributing the vaccine safely and efficiently. Much of that success was in part due to the significant volunteer help.
The county is expanding its emergency volunteer capability with the new Deschutes County Medical Reserve Corps. The idea is for trained volunteers to standby, ready to jump into action should the county ever give them the call.
“There’s not an ‘if’ in terms of whether we’re going to experience some disaster, either human-caused or natural disaster,” Volunteer Jen Wallace said. “To have the infrastructure to respond to those disasters is really important.”
Wallace lived a professional life of service and is now retired. She hopes to continue by volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps.
“It really was aligned with my interests, my abilities,” she said.
Wallace has the know-how and experience to remain calm in a variety of emergency situations.
“The ability to work with people, identify, you know, understanding stressors and help to mitigate those stressors,” Wallace said.
Carissa Heinige with Deschutes County says Wallace is precisely the type of volunteer she needs to make the corps successful.
“I think it makes sense to continue to build upon our volunteer unit and expand our capabilities to support the county and a variety of hazards that may happen,” Heinige said.
In the case of an event, Deschutes County’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness unit would get a call with a request, including details to how the Medical Reserve Corps is needed.
Once they are trained, volunteers will be equipped with the resources needed in case they ever get the call.
“They have a lot of great ideas, so I’m really looking forward to contributing as a volunteer with them, whatever that entails,” Wallace said.
In-person training begins this week and the corps is still accepting additional volunteers. If you want to become a volunteer, click here to learn more.