Volunteers play instrumental role in community health clinics

Volunteers from the American Red Cross and Wiesbaden Community Spouses’ Club at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden play a critical role in

Lauren Lucky, medical volunteer for the American Red Cross, gets her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination Feb. 5, 2021 COVID-19 at the vaccination clinic held on Hainerberg at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. (Photo by Lisa Bishop, USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs)

health clinics offered to the community.

According to Lynnette Murray, public health nurse at the Wiesbaden Health Clinic, as much as 50 percent of community-wide health clinic staffing is provided by volunteers from both organizations. “It would not be possible to vaccinate as quickly, as efficiently and as safely as we do without our volunteers from the Red Cross,” she said. “It is a huge event where all of these parties are contributing to the health and safety of our community.”

Volunteers serve in a variety of capacities, including crowd control, medical professionals and administrators. Michael Bowen, lead volunteer for the Wiesbaden chapter of the American Red Cross, and Murray are responsible for assigning volunteers based on need and skill.

At a vaccination clinic on Feb. 5, 2020, Bowen checked in volunteers and verified that key positions were filled, including manning the door to verify paperwork and require hand sanitization. “I see a need for volunteering,” Bowen said. “I’ve always supported the Red Cross and believed in the greater Red Cross mission.”

For some, like Seychelles Zach and Jim Humphrey, the American Red Cross provides an opportunity to exercise their skills as nurses. After completing a lengthy vetting process, including the verification of credentials through Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, they can administer vaccines, including flu and COVID-19. “It’s effort on the volunteer’s part,” Murray said.

Both Zach and Humphrey have been serving through the American Red Cross since the fall of 2019. “I

Seychelles Zach, medical volunteer for the American Red Cross, completes the pre-screening process for administering the COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 5, 2021 at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic held on Hainerberg at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. (Photo by Lisa Bishop, USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs)

started off with the contact trace team

and eventually went to flu and COVID vaccination,” Humphrey said.
Zach said, “We came in the middle of COVID so as a nurse you want to help in any way you can.” Unable to find a job utilizing her nursing license, she is grateful for the opportunity to contribute. “Luckily the Red Cross had some options available to help.”

Seasoned medical professionals Sharon Ybarra and Lauren Lucky have been volunteering through Wiesbaden Red Cross for more than two years. “I am trying to pay it forward as a nurse practitioner, especially with the COVID clinic,” Ybarra said.

Lucky said, “I am a nurse so I volunteer to screen or vaccine or where I am needed.” Like most of the other nurses at the COVID-19 clinic, she experienced difficulty finding an English-speaking nursing job in Germany. “This is a place where I could still use my nursing skills and help the community out.”

The only position at community clinics that can’t be filled by volunteers, said Murray, is check out. Clinic staff must complete the records process for privacy reasons.

According to Murray, volunteers are a key part of her ability to serve the community. “It’s not just the COVID-19 clinics,” she said. “I have volunteers that come help when I am doing large group classes,” she said. “They are my extra set of hands; I wouldn’t be able to be successful at my job without them.”

For more information on volunteering with the Wiesbaden American Red Cross or the community spouse’s club, visit their Facebook pages at American Red Cross Wiesbaden | Facebook or Wiesbaden Community Spouses’ Club, Inc. | Facebook.