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    Michigan National Guard supports communities of all sizes with vaccination efforts

    Michigan National Guard supports communities of all sizes with vaccination efforts

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera | An Army National Guard combat medic assigned with the Michigan National Guard’s...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera 

    Michigan National Guard

    The Michigan National Guard (MING) continued its support of state-wide vaccination efforts administering over 600 second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the community of Hale, Michigan.
    The District Health Department No. 2 represents Iosco, Alcona, Ogemaw, and Oscoda Counties, who together have a combined population of approximately 65,000 people. The clinic was held at the Eagle Point Plaza in Hale, a centrally located area within the four-county area.
    “We are grateful to have the support to execute this effort. This is almost like a war and we welcome all the assistance we can get. The Michigan National Guard helping out is an outstanding thing,” said Richard Dixon, an Iosco County resident who received his vaccination at the clinic.
    This was the largest clinic the DHD2 has held to date. DHD2 requested additional assistance from the state and MING was tasked with assisting at the clinic to ensure its success.
    “This is a great event working to get the vaccine to everybody, everywhere, because the population in northeastern Michigan is spread out over a large geographic area,” said Pfc. Thor Heskin, an administrative assistant with Task Force North.
    Task Force North is one of four COVID-19 task forces assembled by the Michigan National Guard to assist health departments with vaccines. As the name implies, the task force helps in the northern part of Michigan including areas like Traverse City, Hale, and the Upper Peninsula. Task Force North may not have the most populated areas in which to hold clinics, but they do cover the most ground.
    “That’s the thing with northern Michigan, there is so much more space and people are more spread out. It just takes a little bit more effort to reach everyone,” said Heskin.
    This effort is appreciated by the DHD2, because on top of their regular responsibilities, they are holding clinics and having to conduct more contact tracing as new positive cases across the entire state continue to increase.
    Karla Mattson, a registered nurse with DHD2, said they had fewer people than scheduled working the clinic because they needed more people to stay behind to perform contact tracing.
    “I don’t think we could have administered the capacity of vaccines that we’re doing now without the help of the National Guard,” she said.
    Mattson said that while the clinic in Hale is the largest, they do offer smaller clinics at their county offices and they are making plans to go into schools so they can start vaccinating the 16 and older students who have parental approval. Right now, students make up a large portion of those who are testing positive for COVID-19 in this area.
    “Every event we hold is going to be just as important as the one before, because this is a continuous effort,” said Mattson, who wants everyone to stay vigilant in protecting themselves and others.
    Individuals looking for more information about how serving in the Michigan Air or Army National Guard can offer great opportunities are encouraged to contact recruiters at: Michigan Army National Guard recruiting,, 888-906-1636, the Michigan Army National Guard app, or Michigan Air National Guard recruiting, 1-800-432-4296 or Facebook at



    Date Taken: 04.12.2021
    Date Posted: 04.13.2021 19:58
    Story ID: 393779
    Location: HALE, MI, US 

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