Michigan National Guard Gives a Helping Hand During Pandemic

Soldiers in the Michigan National Guard have put their training to work, constantly adapting throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a busy year for the Guard,” says Col. Scott Meyers, post commander at Camp Grayling. “It’s kind of refreshing because you get trained for the wartime mission but then you’re also in need to help our fellow Michiganders on the frontlines for this pandemic.”

In April, Specialist Kirsten Santa was sent to the Upper Peninsula to help test people for COVID-19.

She says when you’re in the national guard, you get a call and go.

“We started out in all of the prisons in the Upper Peninsula and then moved our way down state and started doing drive through testing and long term care facilities,” says Santa

So far, the Michigan National Guard given around 260,000 COVID-19 tests across the state, and now they’re training to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I didn’t think I would be working as much with the community as I am and I’m thankful that I am able to do that,” says Santa.

In May, Spc. Tyler Royston responded to Midland County after two dams failed, supplying relief to victims devastated by the flood.

“It was kind of crazy, like you never really think about stuff like that happening here. I also pictured when I joined that I would be, if I were to ever respond to something like that, it would be down in Louisiana, Florida, a hurricane type response,” says Royston.

This week, the Michigan National Guard has 750 soldiers in Washington DC to help secure the Capitol.

Col. Meyers says it’s been a long year, but it feels good to be making a difference.

“Sense of pride. Talking to the soldiers, this is what we kind of signed up to do. Helping our hometown, helping the state, protecting the constitution, but also still training for our overseas mission,” says Meyers.