Mass. Guard provides security for homeless affected by COVID-19
By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published April 15, 2020
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Security Forces Airmen from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., and Soldiers with the 747th Military Police Company, Massachusetts Army National Guard, are providing security for testing sites and shelters for the homeless who may be positive COVID-19. The Airmen and Soldiers are working with the Springfield Police Department to ensure security and safety for the supplies, patients, and staff.
Massachusetts National Guard units were activated at the request of Governor Charlie Baker and are helping at the testing facilities as a joint-task force.
“It is nice Massachusetts is taking the initiative to help the homeless,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Mazaik, 104FW SFS. “We are one big family, and I am glad to help out our city.”
The Airmen and Soldiers are glad to be serving their community during these times.
“This is what we are here to help with when there is a national emergency or pandemic,” said Tech. Sgt. Shomeret Chevalier, 104FW SFS. Chevalier was activated in support of COVID-19. She is normally busy with her studies, as a full-time student studying health and wellness at Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Mass. “That’s what we signed up for to get to help local people —not just to deploy but actually help our people.”
The security teams are working closely with Massachusetts Emergency Management interagency partners to provide this assistance. The Airmen and Soldiers will help direct incoming traffic to the COVID-19 screening stations and assist their partners on-site as part of a COVID-19 task force.
Spc. Alan Navarro of the 747MPC and native of Methuen, Mass., is glad to be helping out.
“It makes you feel good,” said Navarro. “It is nice to be making a difference in people’s lives.”
“This mission is meaningful and rewarding,” said Spc. Hayley Macdonald of the 747 MPC. In the civilian world, Macdonald works as a correctional officer cadet at a correctional facility in Chicopee. “Our communities are in this together to help and to keep everyone healthy.”