Volunteers support vaccination efforts in Grand
A line of cars snaked its way through River Run’s parking lot, marked by two tents where masked volunteers prepared paperwork and drew up Moderna vaccines to put in the arms of drivers and passengers.
As a gray SUV came to a stop at the second tent, the passenger jumped out to give the nurses three kinds of cakes, napkins and utensils as she thanked them for their efforts before receiving her second dose.
“This is what I love. Everybody is so thankful,” said Debbie Deboalt, a volunteer at the clinic, as she passed the cakes to her fellow medical professionals.
Deboalt is a retired nurse familiar with the process of mass immunizations as she previously headed H1N1 flu vaccinations. She’d been enjoying her retirement in Granby, hiking and getting outside, when the coronavirus hit.
When the opportunity for her to volunteer with Middle Park Health at the vaccine clinics opened up, Deboalt said she wanted to do what she could to help ensure the community’s health.
“The safer Grand County is, the safer I am,” she said. “I think we’re all looking forward to normal again.”
Deboalt is one of over 60 volunteers helping run the Middle Park Health clinics at River Run in Granby and the CSU Extension Hall in Kremmling. Some volunteers, like Deboalt, are retired or former medical providers, while others are Middle Park Health staff who work the clinics in between regular shifts.
Together the volunteers have worked over 800 hours since Jan. 14. Middle Park Health’s Director of Communications Tiffany Frietag said the hospital couldn’t support the ongoing vaccine clinics without the volunteers.
Andy Radzavich, the director for the Middle Park Medical Foundation, echoed Frietag’s sentiments, noting how committed volunteers have made the immunization effort successful.
As of March 16, Middle Park Health had vaccinated almost 2,500 people. On Monday, the Grand County COVID-19 dashboard showed over 5,300 vaccines have been given.
“Their dedication and attitude have been top notch and we can’t thank them enough,” Radzavich said of the volunteers. “Many have been out here week in and week out in dumping snowstorms, fierce wind, and the occasional sunny day. Most volunteers are local, but we do have a few that make the drive from the Front Range. It’s a testament to how much people love and want to help Grand County.”
For Deboalt, the most rewarding part of volunteering has been giving back to her community and the grateful response she gets from people receiving their shots.
“One guy who was tearful said, ‘Thank you for saving my life,’ and another lady thanked me for getting to see her grandchildren again,” Deboalt recalled. “That really touched me.”
She celebrates by inviting each person she’s immunized to a quick parking lot dance party, helping relieve arm soreness and spreading smiles to her patients.
Deboalt plans to continue volunteering at the clinics, which Middle Park Health plans to continue as long as it keeps receiving vaccines. The drive-thru clinics run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at River Run in Granby and Fridays at the CSU Extension Hall in Kremmling.
To register for a vaccine in Grand County, fill out the individual registration form at http://www.co.grand.co.us/vaccine.
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