By Maj. Holli Nelson
| West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | March 27, 2020
Members of the West Virginia National Guard assist volunteers with the Greater Greenbrier Long Term Recovery Committee in preparing meals for more than 3,600 school-age students throughout Greenbrier County, West Virginia, during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, March 25, 2020, in Lewisburg, West Virginia. The Soldiers supported more than 30 volunteers in packaging and delivering the meals to needy children around the county and will continue to do so for the duration of the outbreak. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Edwin L. Wriston) (Photo by Edwin Wriston)
“Going forward, our force will continue to be a leader in the state in the response to this public health threat. We are urging all West Virginians to join us in practicing proper hygiene, maintaining social distance and avoiding gathering of groups of people to ensure we can flatten the curve here in West Virginia and protect our most vulnerable population,” says Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard.
Currently, more than 250 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia by augmenting civil authorities through four lines of effort:
This week, the WVNG has supported the state’s coordinated response to this public health emergency by providing experts in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) field to assist with proper personal protective equipment (PPE)wear and removal training for health care agencies and first responders, assisting with food box preparations and distribution in Gassaway and Greenbrier County, answering phone lines for the COVID-19 hotline, augmenting counties and agencies with liaison officers and building a robust logistical network for distribution of PPE across the state.
In addition, the Guard is utilizing outside of the box approaches through a whole-of-society effort to fill any identified gaps and needs for the medical community while also developing a network of intelligence, public health and epidemiology experts who can provide trend analysis for our state leaders.
“The work that the National Guard has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time to assist our state is truly exceptional,” stated Hoyer. “These men and women have been working around the clock to develop plans, assist our healthcare facilities and workers, distribute critical supplies all while coming up with innovation solutions to the problem we are facing as a state and a nation.”
The WVNG has conducted the following missions since coming on duty to support the state in all aspects of COVID-19 preparation and response:
All current and future missions performed by the WVNG are a part of a coordinated state-level public health preparation and response effort for the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, initiated by Governor Jim Justice, and being led by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
The West Virginia National Guard has a bench of nearly 6,400 experienced and proven Air and Army National Guard professionals who frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.
Our National Guard members work and live in every community have a proven record of accomplishment supporting civilian authorities during and after homeland emergencies.