And Then Again by Tamara Pettit

…..West Virginia’s distribution of COVID vaccinations has garnered national attention. While at the beginning of the crisis we were the last state to have a case of COVID, we now are being recognized for our distribution of the vaccine which has been deemed the most efficient and effective in the nation. Gov. Jim Justice appeared on Face the Nation Sunday to be interviewed on our process for the vaccine dissemination After a rocky start in which he responded to a question on President Trump by saying he “got out over his skis” Justice shared that West Virginia opted to use its own model rather than the Federal model.
…. While the national model called for the use of national pharmacies, West Virginia turned to our local pharmacies, health departments, Federally Qualified Health Clinics such as CHANGE, Inc. We called out the National Guard and we utilized school health nurses. In other words, we worked together and listened to the people who knew what they were talking about. The Governor said West Virginia had put 98.5 percent of the vaccines available in resident’s arms or had assigned a name to that vaccine. In speaking of the urgency to do so, he put what States needed to do pretty succinctly. “We need to get at it.”
…….I had a call from Mary Lou Krzeczowski (also known as “Mama Lou” to many of us) who had high words of praise for those who conducted the vaccine clinic at the JDR Rockefeller Career Center. Mary Lou had gone to get her vaccine and she was amazed at the efficiency of the process. While many may worry about long lines and waits, Mary Lou said the process was quick and effective. Chairs were placed 6 feet apart and you sat down got the shot; sat for 15 minutes; one health care worker had a stop watch and told you when you couldleave. She wanted to send the message to anyone afraid of getting the vaccine that the process is quick and painless.
….The vaccine signup is on the Hancock County Health Department website and the CHANGE website. Sign-up and you will be scheduled for your shot as the vaccination becomes available. Gov. Justice has indicated the vaccine will now be made available to those 70 and over. If you have a loved one who is not computer literate, please take the initiative to sign him/her up.
…….Gov. Jim Justice’s inauguration to his second term is Friday and it will be low key with very limited attendance due to COVID restrictions. It’s a far cry from inaugurations of the past which included inaugural balls, receptions and large crowds with a great deal of money being spent. Those funds were not State funds, however, and had to be raised by the Inaugural Committee from outside sources.
…..Among those receiving words of praise for their dedication is Nurse Kathy Dray, of the JDR. Kathy has volunteered and dedicated much time to the process. Another health care professional noted Kathy has gone above and beyond and is a credit to her profession.
….President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris attended a memorial service for the 400,000 victims of COVID on the eve of Inauguration ceremonies. A Michigan nurse sang “Amazing Grace” at the service. In the beginning of the pandemic few of us knew anyone who had fallen victim to the virus and we harbored the belief that it would never touch us. That has changed dramatically. As our pages of obituaries document, we now all know someone who has died from COVID. They are our friends, our neighbors and in many cases, our family. Our prayers go out to all who have been touched by the pandemic.
…..Received a call and letter from Todd Crago who lives at Pittenger Road in New Manchester. Crago, whose land is located between Frankfort Road and Route 8 , said the Dept. of Highways continue to destroy his yard when they plowed for snow. A resident for 50 plus years on that land, Crago said current snow plow drivers are not judging the edge of their blade for the past three to four years when they plow snow and are cutting into his and his neighbor’s yard.
….Crago has attempted to get his problem resolved and he says “It’s been 3-4 years ago I went to the Dept. of Highways to talk to someone about it. They said they would take care of it. Nothing happened. Every spring it takes me 1-2 days to fix my yard before I can mow.”
….In the midst of what is a dreary January with very serious subjects in the forefront, my mind made an observation when watching the evening news. Norah O’Donnell had shoulder pads in her jacket. Oh my, I loved shoulder pads. Called “statement shoulders” they are back for the spring line. The fashion ghurus note that they are come back into style when times get tough and women go into the workforce and the shoulder pads are likened to armor. Or, is it because big shoulders make waistlines look small? One has to wonder, however, in a world when your biggest wardrobe concern is to remember to bring your mask, does anyone really care??
….I like to think that I was socially aware as a teenager in the 1960’s. Apparently, I wasn’t aware as I should have been because I was pretty astonished when I saw a West Virginia University post about those who broke barriers. While the famous Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court Case was issued in 1954, and declared every student had a right to an equal education, it was 1966 before Victorini Lansoult became the first known black female faculty member at WVU. Katherine Johnson, who became on of the three women who worked on the flight trajectory for space program and the Apollo flight in 1969, was the first black female to be enrolled in a graduate program.
…..Most surprising to me though was that it was 1972 before women were admitted to the WVU marching band. Former band director Don Wilcox came to WVU from California to lead an 88-member all male marching band. Wilcox said he thought about his three daughters and how it would be if the opportunity to participate in the band had been denied them. He recalls contacting the University President at the time and saying it was illegal to deny females the opportunity to participate. As a result the band opened to women. According to Wilcox some of the male band members protested and were given the option to leave if they had a problem with including women. Twelve women joined the band.
……Sometimes I think in our rush to credit the women who fought for equality, we neglect to credit the men who saw inequity and acted. Don Wilcox was one of those men.
…..Although it is clearly mid-winter, dreary and cold, I feel an optimism that Spring will be coming. The emergence of the vaccine and the reports of residents receiving the vaccine should bring a Spring with people emerging from their isolation to enjoy freedom and the company of friends and neighbors. I hope so. Oh, how I hope so.