Guard Soldiers take part in NKY COVID-19 test site

Spc. Mirline Fox, with the 2112th Transportation Company, directs traffic at Summit View Academy, one of Kentucky’s pop up drive-thru testing sites in Independence, Ky., Apr. 17, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Destini Keene)

By Sgt. Destini Keene, 2112th Transportation Company Unit Public Affairs Representative

INDEPENDENCE, Ky. – Members of the Kentucky Army National Guard began providing support to local agencies at one of Kentucky’s COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites at Summit View Academy, Apr. 15-18.

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Fifteen Soldiers from the 2112th Transportation Company, 138th Field Artillery Brigade are providing traffic control for the testing site and are working alongside Kentucky Emergency Management, Kroger Health, Kentucky State Police, Kenton County Police, and the Independence Police Department at one of four Kentucky’s pop up testing sites.

The site has averaged over 200 tests a day for the last three days, helping to get to Governor Andy Beshear’s overall goal of conducting 20,000 tests over the next five weeks.

“It’s been cool to watch these many agencies come together and do one solid job to help everybody in the community,” said Sgt. 1st Class James “Chris” Feighery, a platoon sergeant with the 2112th.

According to Feighery, the Soldiers received the call up on Easter Sunday and by 2pm they already had 15 Soldiers willing to step-up and help.

For the Soldiers, the call to action was something they were excited for and had been waiting to receive.

Sgt. Brooke Adams, with the 2112th Transportation Company, directs drivers to have their identification ready to be checked at Summit View Academy, one of Kentucky’s pop up drive-thru testing sites in Independence, Ky., Apr. 17, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt.Benjamin Crane)

“I feel that it’s my duty as a National Guardsmen to serve the community and what better time to do so than now,” said Sgt. Nykel McCrary on assisting with COVID-19 drive-thru testing site. “I am proud of how fluid and effective this testing site is.”

Assembling and managing all the many agencies has been a tough task but it’s something that the Director of Homeland Security says has been made a lot easier with the National Guards help.

“Our Guard troops have been a phenomenal resource,” said Steve Hensley, director of Kenton County’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Whether it’s with traffic control, moving equipment or assisting with the clean up afterwards, whatever we need or ask of them, they address the issue immediately with a smile on their faces.”

The interoperability between the Soldiers that are working alongside with Kentucky State Police and all the other agencies is a necessity that makes the whole operation flow smoothly.

“I appreciate all of the hard work from the Guardsmen. The Soldiers are aiding us in meeting our numbers each day, said Lt. Jason Joseph, Kentucky State Police. “The collaboration has been phenomenal and for that I am grateful.”

The state intends to open more testing sites throughout Kentucky and the Soldiers of the 2112th will be along for each phase. As of now, the unit will be heading to Somerset, Ky., and help with operations at that test site.

These Guardsmen will also share their lessons learned as test sites around the state are launched.

**Those eligible for the COVID-19 test include persons with symptoms, health care workers, first responders, those 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions. Kentuckians can register at www.thelittleclinic.com/drivethru-testing , or call 1-888-852-2567. Citizens of the Commonwealth will get follow-on instructions as they meet the parameters for testing.

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