CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Every emergency and every conflict involving the United States or the state of West Virginia has also always involved the West Virginia National Guard. The ongoing Covid 19 pandemic is no different. But West Virginia’s Adjutant General says it’s not like anything he’s ever experienced.
“Of all the things militarily and emergency response and otherwise, this is the most complex and challenging thing that I’ve ever done and I think that we’ve ever done from a Guard perspective,” Major General James Hoyer stated on a Saturday edition of Metronews Talkline.
More than 500 members of the Guard are on active duty with a host of different missions in response to the pandemic. Some Guard members are answering phones to put West Virginians’ minds at ease about the virus or worried about their unemployment compensation. Other Guard members are swabbing nasal cavities on the front lines at nursing homes along side medical staff from West Virginia hospitals to test for the virus. Guard men and women might be packing a cardboard box with non-perishable food for delivery to a family through a food bank or they may be helping deliver medical equipment in preparation for an anticipated surge.
The guard is creating and disinfecting reusable PPE’s or planning how to retrofit and equip hospitals for an anticipated surge in infection cases. The Guard is handling a major segment of the state’s response.
“It’s up to us as West Virginians as to how we come out of this. I reinforce that every day in my staff meetings. We need to turn this challenge into an opportunity,” said Hoyer.
The General is convinced West Virginia will write its own ending to the Covid 19 story. He’s certain it can be an outcome the state can be proud of and one other states will envy.
“We’re showing we’re innovative. We’re showing we as West Virginians can take care of each other,” he said.