When we were just finishing setting up, people of all ages started to pour into the gym. What can only be described as an organized chaos ensued. In the gym, we had about 100 chairs lined up for people waiting for an available practitioner to give them their vaccine, and my job was to direct people to their next spot - their vaccine spot. We had multiple people that didn’t speak English, so I would walk them personally to their station to help them feel more comfortable. As soon as a vaccine station opened, the student at that station would raise their hands and wave at me, motioning for me to send another person over. As you can imagine with about twenty vaccine stations, there was often one open, keeping me on my toes throughout the evening. I was met with a lot of smiling faces and “thank you”s, as the vaccine is seen as a light at the end of the tunnel we know as COVID-19.
The vaccine clinic was organized by Mr. Lee and Dr. Trinh, who founded St. Joseph Primary Care to help parishioners at St. Ann who do not have health insurance, as well as serve those who are insured or underinsured. They have big hearts and have been volunteering their time and staff almost every week for vaccine clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mere presence of a volunteer brought Mr. Lee to tears, as he and his wife, Dr. Trinh started another vaccine clinic. This student volunteer from Gibbons had come to every clinic to help out and had stepped up to help in any situation where he was needed. Mr. Lee shared how much of an impact volunteers have had on the people being vaccinated, adding that the volunteers warm his and his wife’s hearts each time.
A month has passed since this experience and I still think about it daily. The impact on those vaccinated and all of those they will come into contact with is far reaching. It feels good to have been a part of such a monumental event. Volunteering has a special place in my heart, and has changed my life for the better. During my years at Gibbons, I have learned firsthand that helping others has positive benefits for you as well as those you help.
When the night started, our goal was to vaccinate 900 people. Overall, we ended up vaccinating over 1,000 people in four hours.