Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 22

During the pandemic, MRC GEM membership has soared,
with more than 300 new sign-ups in 2020. Unit members
served more than 2,200 hours last year, with 627 hours
logged in March alone.

MRC GEM Executive Director Sherwin
Levinson, center, accepts a resolution passed
by the Georgia House of Representatives in
2016 in appreciation of MRC GEM. Also
pictured, from left, are state Rep. Timothy
Barr, R-Lawrenceville, and state Rep. Buzz
Brockway, R-Lawrenceville. Barr is also a
member of MRC GEM. At the time, the corps
had a membership of 400 who volunteered
3,000 hours a year, producing an estimated
economic value of nearly $75,000 for the
Georgia East Metro Health District.

MRC GEM volunteers learn how to put on and take off personal protective equipment that
would be used in the event of radioactive dust.

information and organizing social events so they can learn more
about MRC GEM opportunities.
" I don't know why people wouldn't want to learn how to
protect themselves and their neighbors, " Zwickel says.

Giving back to the community
During the pandemic, MRC GEM membership has soared,
with more than 300 new sign-ups in 2020. Unit members served
more than 2,200 hours last year, with 627 hours logged in March
alone.
More than 100 corps members have helped in some way.
Many more wanted to be involved but couldn't because they
were at-risk for COVID or had young children to consider,
Levinson says.
In addition to COVID testing, members helped with
contact tracing. Brittany Carter, former epidemiology manager
for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Department, says these volunteers were " critical " to getting the system
up and running.
During the pandemic's early days, with lockdowns in place,
five to seven corps members showed up at the health department every day, ready to work. They helped to test the new, textbased contact-tracing system, and their work set the tone for the
department's contact tracing unit.
" They were amazing, " says Carter, who also is a member of
MRC GEM. " They played a critical part, and we wouldn't have
been able to do it without them. I felt really proud of the organization that right off the bat people showed up, and their work
was exceptional, too. "
It is not known whether MRC GEM will assist with coronavirus vaccinations, but volunteers will be ready if called.

22

Georgia Magazine

February 2021

The unit trains for mass immunizations, and members quickly
responded when asked to help during an H1N1 flu outbreak in
April 2009. Volunteers gave thousands of flu shots at a makeshift
clinic set up at a Gwinnett County high school.
" I'm convinced that the reason we didn't have a true [flu]
pandemic was that we got so many people vaccinated, " Levinson said.
In 2019, Gwinnett County health officials had to administer
tuberculosis (TB) tests to students and staff members at a local
high school after a student tested positive for TB. The health
department called on MRC GEM. More than 20 corps members
spent three days helping to test 3,200 people.
" They gave up their personal days, their vacation days.
Some of them had to get day care. It was an awesome undertaking, " Levinson says.
Levinson stays involved with the corps unit because he
wants to keep the community safe and is concerned about his
family and neighbors.
" This is something that needs doing, and I was raised [to
believe] that you give back to the community. Also, I've met
so many wonderful people doing this. That's rewarding in and
of itself, " he says. " More members and supporters are always
needed and welcomed. "
Laura Berrios is a freelance writer based in Alpharetta.

For more information
The Georgia Medical Reserve Corps program, housed under the
Georgia Department of Public Health, is part of a national network
of almost 200,000 volunteers serving in about 800 units throughout
the country. To find out more about Georgia's MRC units, visit
mrc.hhs.gov/findmrc.


http://mrc.hhs.gov/findmrc

Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 14
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 15
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 17
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 18
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 19
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 20
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 21
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 22
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 23
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 25
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 26
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 27
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 28
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 29
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 30
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 31
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 32
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 33
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 34
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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