Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Community rallies around military at Indio testing facility

    Community rallies around military at Indio testing facility

    Photo By Master Sgt. Julianne Showalter | Members of the 144th Medical Group from Fresno Air National Guard Base, 146th Medical...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Julianne Showalter 

    California National Guard Primary   

    INDIO, Calif. – Area residents are rallying around a team of medical Airmen from California Air National Guard units throughout the state as they work with the California Medical Assistant Team-Indio to run a COVID-19 testing facility in Indio.

    The testing site, which is located at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival grounds, has received an outpouring of donations from people and organizations in the Coachella Valley who want to help with the fight against COVID-19.

    The site has received an outpouring of donations from organizations in the Coachella Valley wanting to help in COVID-19 fight.

    No matter how big or small, the community support has directly contributed to the efficiency of the testing site.

    "It’s great for us, not just morale wise, but physically,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Patrick McGar of the Fresno-based 144th Medical Group. “We’re outside and it’s 105, 107 degrees, and we’re wearing full protective equipment and we’re covered in sweat from head to toe. To come inside, off the line and get a nice cold drink that’s been donated out of an ice chest that’s been donated from people that really care and support us, it means a lot.”

    Airmen feel as though they are becoming part of the community, he said.

    "It makes us feel like we’re not outsiders but we’re being supported as one of their own,” McGar said.

    Senior Airman Jolene Domingo, also from the 144th Medical Group, agreed.

    "I’m so grateful for everyone’s support of the military. It’s been so overwhelmingly positive."

    The team leads the nation in per capita testing, said Kent Gray, a legislative, regulatory and external affairs representative from the California Emergency Medical Services Authority. The Indio site also leads Riverside County in both number of tests per day and total tests administered with an average of 565 tests per day and more than 11,000 tests performed so far.

    The Bob Hope USO of Palm Springs shifted their ongoing airport support efforts over to the testing site.

    "This is the closest I’ve come to actually doing front line help with military folks,” said the USO’s desert area manager, Jeff Mich. “Being able to be in direct support on an actual mission is really gratifying, plus our airport center currently closed. It means so much being right here a part of this."

    Mich said when his organization learned of the National Guard’s presence at the fairgrounds, he knew he wanted to help out any way possible.

    “I got in touch with them and each week I’ve been coming down with some kind of treat whether its packaged goods or providing a meal,” Mich said.

    Operational for nearly a month, many of the team members haven’t been home to see their families. For McGar and the others, community support is carrying their spirits through from week to week.

    "I’d like to say thank you to all of the groups out there that have thought of us while we’ve been out here,” he said. “We’re all between two and ten hours away from our families. The things that they’ve contributed to us and the ways that those things have helped us to carry out this mission better have really gone a long way.”



    Date Taken: 05.12.2020
    Date Posted: 05.12.2020 16:11
    Story ID: 369544
    Location: INDIO, CA, US

    Web Views: 252
    Downloads: 0