The Flagler County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit dedicated April 15 to 21 to mark National Volunteer Week as MRC units across the nation held volunteer recognition events while supporting activities that strengthen public health and emergency preparedness.
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of local groups of volunteers committed to improving the health, safety, and resiliency of their communities. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals, as well as non-medical volunteers who are interested in strengthening the public health infrastructure and improving the preparedness and response capabilities of their local jurisdictions.
Flagler County’s unit has increased the health and preparedness of the area “by providing flu vaccinations, blood pressure and diabetes screening, as well as educating members of our community about emergency preparedness and other health related issues like the Prescription Drug Education for Students,” said MRC’s Teresa Cerreta-Fisher. There are 126 registered volunteers locally and 74 pending new volunteer applicants.
Flagler MRC volunteers this year have provided logistical support and assistance to several organizations, including the MS Society (a Medical First Aid Station), Flagler Free Clinic 5K race ( logistical support and First aid stations), Feed Flagler (hosts and hostesses, Food Drive packers and six nurses who dispensed flu shot), the Christmas Angels Project (packers and distributors), Flagler County Public Schools (backpack fillers), Access Flagler (nurses for blood pressure checks and flu shot administration), Bunnell’s United Methodist Church for its Wednesday weekly meal for the homeless, and the Flagler County Health Department.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Medical Reserve Corps, which was launched in 2002 after the events of 9/11 brought to light the need for an organized system for medical and public health professionals who could be ready to respond to emergencies, but also help to improve public health on a day-to-day basis. During both public health and preparedness-related events, MRC volunteers have the opportunity to work as a team. And, in collaboration with local partners, these events improve the health of the people in the community–often the young, elderly or underserved-and strengthen the members of the MRC unit to respond as a team in the event of an emergency.
The Medical Reserve Corps program began with 42 units and has grown to a robust network of almost 1,000 units including more than 200,000 volunteers in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and most of the U.S. territories. Over the past decade, MRC units have helped to meet the emergency needs of their communities by assisting with a variety of small and large-scale responses, such as Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, and mass vaccinations for the H1N1 influenza virus. More recently, MRC volunteers have provided support following wildfires in New Mexico, floods in Minnesota, and tornadoes in Alabama, Missouri, and Massachusetts.
Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially in scope each year since, drawing the support and endorsement of all subsequent U.S. presidents, governors, mayors and other respected elected officials. “National Volunteer Week is a time to recognize the difference that volunteers can make on a daily basis as they lead by example-not only encouraging the people they
help, but motivating others to serve as well,” Cerreta-Fisher said. “Volunteering not only provides the great satisfaction of helping others, but also can provide you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.”
For more information about the MRC program, and to find out how you can get involved, please contact Flagler County MRC Coordinator: Teresa Cerreta-Fisher, at 386/437-8263 and leave a message or call 386/503-5561. Or visit this website and complete the registration process. To learn about the Medical Reserve Corp, you can visit www.medicalreservecorps.gov, or visit the Facebook page.