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‘I Wouldn’t Be Anywhere Else’: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Staffs Happy To Serve Region

Photo by Derek Redd James Conley sits and receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine during Ohio County’s Thursday clinic at The Highlands. Many people attending the clinic said getting vaccinated makes them more hopeful for a return to a more normal life in the future.

TRIADELPHIA — Across multiple days and seeing dozens of masked faces each hour, one might think the grind at local vaccine clinics is a long and endless job.

It’s not. Far from it, in fact.

Friday saw vaccine clinics at both Ohio and Marshall County’s sites, both at The Highlands and at the Marshall County Fairgrounds, where people came to receive their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. A mostly volunteer staff was working both clinics, some of which consisted of volunteers who are also employed elsewhere in the county to fill out the ranks.

At the Ohio County clinic site, in the building formerly known as Michael’s at The Highlands, Anne Gompers, an RN and a retired nurse with Ohio County Schools, said morale was sky-high among the volunteers, who were across-the-board happy to be administering the doses.

“It’s a great feeling, to be able to do something to help,” Gompers said. “All the nurses here are volunteers; we have some (physician assistants) here, some doctors, nurse practitioners, and everyone is very happy to do this.

“Everybody is just happy to do this, to be contributing to our community. … When you see some of these folks tear up when they get their shot, you just think, wow, this is great!”

Ohio County was distributing second doses to patients age 85 and older, as well as first and second doses distributed to others through the state registry. Marshall County’s clinic was for first doses.

At the Fairgrounds, Vicki Allender was on hand, continuing her service to the health department. Allender, a retired nurse, was asked to come back to assist the department when the pandemic was worsening last year, and she answered the call with gusto.

Months later, she’s still happy to be doing her part.

“I came out of retirement to be here, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” Allender said. “Most of the nurses you see are retired and came out of retirement to help. We couldn’t make it without them.”

Carol Robinson was also among the volunteers, taking time away from her normal duties as Marshall County’s 911 Director. Robinson shared the common sentiment among those volunteers: they’re happy to help.

“I’m happy to volunteer my time,” Robinson said. “The people who come in here are so excited to get their vaccination, and they’re grateful.”

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