BEAVER, Pa. – Soldiers and Airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard are supporting the Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, providing medical, administrative and cleaning services.
The Pennsylvania Task Force West service members and other members from across the state answered the call within 24 hours and were fitted for personal protective equipment (PPE) May 11. The medical support team consists of 12 medically trained Guard members and 15 members who are there to assist in cleaning and related tasks.
Another 12 Soldiers are helping inside the facility and one noncommissioned officer is assisting outside with administrative matters, bringing the total force to 40 Guard members.
“One of the most important National Guard missions is to support our own communities,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, adjutant general of Pennsylvania. “Assisting and serving our fellow neighbors is a very personal effort as this is where we live. We are all in this together.”
“We continue to stay informed on the situation at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center to ensure we are providing all the necessary support, appropriate supplies, and equipment required to assist the resident care and facility management," said Lt. Col. Gary Zembower, Pennsylvania Task Force West commander.
Many members of the Guard's medical support team also work in the medical field in civilian occupations.
Lt. Col. Albert Fogle, the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s brigade surgeon, is a family medicine doctor who is board-certified in geriatrics. He led the initial survey team that assessed needs with representatives of the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
“Within 24 hours, our Pennsylvania National Guardsmen were able to respond and were integrated into the care center to assist with the residents' needs,” Fogle said.
The support to the Brighton Rehab Center allows the nurses and limited staff to focus on the patients living in the home. Members of the medical support team work in three shifts, with extra personnel during the daytime shift as directed by Eva Hamilton, the director of nursing.
“Our chief goal is to defeat COVID-19 and preserve the health and well-being of the most vulnerable,” the owners of Brighton’s Rehab and Wellness Center said in an email.