FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md –
As the COVID-19 vaccination effort ramps up across the country, a key element to delivering the vaccine is having enough qualified healthcare workers to administer the doses. For Master Sgt. Carolyn Lange, this presented an opportunity to maintain her skills as a Licensed Practical Nurse while serving as a Recruiter with the U.S. Army 1st Medical Recruiting Battalion on Fort Meade, Maryland.
For 18 years, and two overseas deployments, Lange has provided critical care to Soldiers and their family members. She has also contributed her expertise and experience to younger generations of LPNs by serving as an instructor at the Medical Center of Excellence in Fort Sam Houston, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. Her current assignment to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command has her recruiting qualified individuals to serve in the Nurse Corps, a role she has worked in for the past two years.
In recent years, Lange has volunteered to administer seasonal flu shots in the Fort Meade area. “I’ve enjoyed helping out with vaccinations while recruiting, I feel like it helps me stay connected with the (U.S. Army Medical Command) community,” said Lange.
When COVID-19 vaccinations became available to the Fort Meade community, Lange was eager to volunteer. “I am hopeful that if we can get enough people vaccinated we can go back to a more ‘normal’ life, and I just wanted to do my part,” Lange said.
After completing a series of training courses and an in-person competency assessment, Lange has become a valuable member of the vaccination team. A typical day involves her arriving by 7:30 a.m. to prepare for the first arrivals. “Most people have an appointment and the organizers have done a great job with ensuring social distancing and good flow. Very few people have to wait long to get their vaccine, and are able to head out quickly,” Lange said.
Balancing volunteer work with her regular job has been easy with the support of her command and family. She’s even hopeful her husband, a recruiter and trained combat medic, will complete the training process and join her at the vaccination site. “The COVID-19 pandemic is definitely going to be something significant in my military time when I look back on it, so I am glad that even though my current role in USAREC is away from patient care, I was able to help out in some way.”