GEORGETOWN, Texas - Some homebound seniors in Williamson County are getting their COVID-19 vaccinations thanks to some Texas National Guardsman. About 40 Guardsman helped vaccinate seniors in the Georgetown and Round Rock area.
The initiative was launched in 26 Texas counties in March. The Texas National Guard Save Our Seniors team coordinates with the Texas Department of Emergency Management. So far, Guard officials say the teams have administered more than 21,000 vaccinations at homes and hub sites.
One of the first shot stops was the home of Joe and Sally Mitchell. They needed the vaccine to come to them because health issues kept them from getting to a hub.
"And we found no one in the area that would take us without her getting in and out and going in and that’s more than she can do ... Without this, we’d be up a creek," said Joe Mitchell.
Four separate teams visited a total of 40 homebound seniors in neighborhoods across Williamson County from Taylor to Cedar Park. The Guard was called in to help Williamson County’s mobile outreach program, which started last month. The county effort has already provided a little more than 400 vaccines to seniors.
"But once the list started to grow we realized that we needed some assistance in providing some of these vaccines so we can get these people back to their families," said Amy Jarosek with Williamson County EMS.
Guard members from across Texas were called up for the statewide initiative. Among them was Staff Sergeant Noel Melendez who is attached to a unit at Fort Bliss and said each mission is personal for him. "It means I did my job the right way and I can sleep at night," said Melendez.
County officials praised the team members for their determination despite working so many deployments. "The next generation is already standing up, So it’s great, I feel like we are all in good hands," said Williamson County Emergency Coordinator Michael Shoe.
The neighborhood deployment will literally put Williamson County over the COVID-19 hill. Officials estimated that by this weekend more than 50% of all county residents age 16 and over will have their first shot. Another deployment is planned for next week.
County Judge Bill Gravell told the group they are saving lives. He not only thanked team members for helping, he also went along.
"It’s personal to me every time every day I write down the name of somebody who has passed away this is the ability to go to people and see them face-to-face and bring them a little hope," said Gravell.
Along with hope, the teams brought something else for people like Joe and Sally Mitchell: freedom after being cut off for so long.