Feature   Defense News

Michigan National Guard Continues Community Based COVID-19 Testing

Aug. 28, 2020 | BY Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera

Once again, the Michigan National Guard has brought COVID-19 testing to communities across the state, focusing on the towns of Three Rivers, Baldwin and Newaygo, Aug. 13-14, 2020.

The Michigan National Guard's Task Force 182 was in all three communities providing drive-thru testing.

A soldier in personal protective equipment conducts a drive-thru COVID-19 test.
COVID-19 Test
Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard provide free drive-through COVID-19 testing in Baldwin, Mich.,, Aug. 14, 2020. Medics from the Michigan National Guard’s Task Force 182 have been providing the testing throughout the state over the last three months.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera, Michigan National Guard
VIRIN: 200814-Z-FY465-084C

"I believe these missions are important to the public," said Army Spc. Nathan McCann, a medic with the task force. "It helps ease the minds of some, knowing that there's constant statewide testing going on."

McCann is new to the testing teams, filling in for others who had to get back to their homes and families after several months on the job. Before joining the testing teams, he was involved in COVID-19 relief activities at the regional care center and at food banks, helping many people within the state in a variety of ways.

"We are always here and ready to help with whatever we can," McCann said.

Also new to the testing teams, Army Spc. Corjon Wright had been on his annual training before receiving orders to help out.

Soldiers wearing masks and personal protective equipment conduct drive-thru COVID-19 tests.
Drive-Thru Test
Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard provide free drive-through COVID-19 testing in Newaygo, Mich., Aug. 13, 2020. The Michigan National Guard’s Task Force 182 has been providing testing throughout the state over the last three months.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera, Michigan National Guard
VIRIN: 200813-Z-FY465-043C

"Doing this is just a benefit for the community, it was great to see that people were willing to come out and get tested," Wright said.

Wright was in Three Rivers, where he said the event was more successful than he expected.

"I was surprised by the overwhelming response," he said.

Army Sgt. Austin Topolski, a task force team leader, has been part of the testing teams from the beginning and has had to set some of the best practices and policies for quick and safe tests. He decided to stay on the mission and help guide the soldiers who are now coming onto the mission, and to help the testing mission stay strong within the state.

A soldier wearing personal protective equipment conducts a drive-thru COVID-19 test.
Free Test
Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard provide free drive-through COVID-19 testing in Baldwin, Mich., Aug. 14, 2020. Medics from the Michigan National Guard’s Task Force 182 have been providing the testing throughout the state over the last three months.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera, Michigan National Guard
VIRIN: 200814-Z-FY465-137C

"We want to stay strong enough to consistently do the mission for the state of Michigan, keeping us viable and busy," Topolski said.

A Marine before he became a member of the National Guard, Topolski knew what it meant to serve his country. Now he has also had the experience of serving his community as a citizen-soldier, an integral part of the guard's mission.

(Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera is assigned to the Michigan National Guard)