CHARLESTON, W.Va., –
Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the West Virginia National Guard’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This has been a trying and challenging year for our entire One Guard family. This invisible enemy has led us to the largest continuous response in the history of the WVNG.
We understand that the past 365 days dealing with COVID-19 has been one of the most difficult eras for our Soldiers, Airmen, civilian employees, their families, our state and nation. The stressors placed upon them all have led to great displays of fortitude, adaptation and pure will to fight. Your motivation and dedication has not gone unnoticed by all levels of leadership within the WVNG, our state or the nation.
It is with great pride to serve alongside you as your Adjutant General and Senior Enlisted Leader and get to witness the West Virginia values you bring to the fight in every endeavor you take on. Each of you have volunteered to serve and dedicate yourselves to the betterment and safety of the citizens of West Virginia. It is through your efforts that the WVNG has created such a powerful and successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The combined force and collection of expertise that we have built in response to this disease has been astounding. We are truly amazed at the invaluable professionalism and capability that has been you have displayed. When you were called upon, you answered with measures that exceeded expectations by all – through innovation, perseverance and unwavering dedication. No words could detail the true treasure the state holds within our ranks.
Despite the rigorous challenges this pandemic response has brought forward, the West Virginia National Guard continues to conduct training, prepare for and deploy overseas, respond to the National Capital Region for the Presidential Inauguration, conduct flood and winter storm response missions, balance work schedules under COVID-19 restrictions, and still accomplish taking care of one another. It is this level of adaptation that can only be found in the National Guard.
We have lost many fellow West Virginians to this disease, including members of our One Guard family like Toney Colagrosso - and we ask that their memories not be forgotten. We should honor their lives through continued dedication in the preservation of future lives. If not for the efforts by the Soldiers and Airmen who dedicated themselves to this mission, it is very probable that West Virginia would have lost many, many more lives than we did.
CSM Jones and I will never truly be able to display the level of gratitude and thankfulness that we have for each and every member of the West Virginia National Guard. Without your efforts during this pandemic, there is no certainty what the condition this state would be. You continue to respond to this pandemic and the current vaccination efforts with the same level of dedication you brought forward one year ago today. You and your families are truly an asset and an inspiration to the entire state and our nation, and for that, we thank you.