Volunteers, a Minden Hills councillor and health unit staff showed up to Minden’s last mass vaccination clinic March 24.
A total of 203 volunteers helped vaccinate approximately 12,290 people at Minden’s S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Community Centre.
Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge health promoter Kate Hall thanked Pat Bradley, Sally Moore and Lynda Litwin who helped organize volunteers and coordinate shifts.
“We just received so much fabulous feedback, how smoothly it ran, how welcome people felt, how it was a really positive experience,” Hall said. “You folks were really the welcoming committee and making it run smooth and seamless.”
Coun. Jennifer Hughey said the vaccine clinic and volunteers “made this place safer, you made a serious difference in this community.”
Thirty-two of the volunteers were named “community heroes” for volunteering over 45 hours of time at vaccine clinics. Volunteers helped greet people at the door, check them in, answer questions and more.
Pat Bradley joined up early to help Moore organize the initial volunteer response.
“At the beginning I thought, ‘oh this might be a few hours… but in the first few weeks we were doing 50-hour weeks’,” she said.
She added that a Google spreadsheet quickly streamlined the process, making it easy for volunteers to check out what shifts needed filling and when.
Bradley said it felt good to contribute to making the community safer. “Many of us knew people who were sitting at home immuno-suppressed,” she said. “Knowing our community could be vaccinated was a really big thing for me.”
She said she hopes to continue some of the friendships she made while volunteering.
“I’ve met a lot of amazing people and made some new friends. Just to realize 206 people at least volunteered to come out and help. It makes you very emotional about what our community is like,” Bradley said.
Connie Walker, a former nurse, said she “saw it as an important thing to help us get through the pandemic.” She didn’t think of how many hours she was volunteering.
“You want your community to be helpful and strong and get out of this. And move on with what you want to do,” she said.
Community hero volunteer Sarah Hall applauded the leadership of Bradley, Moore and Litwin.
“When you have good leaders, that lead a team of volunteers in such an efficient manner, it’s just very rewarding” she said.
Hall became a Canadian citizen five years ago, and said it was a way of getting even more involved in Haliburton life. “I wanted to feel useful within the community,” she said