By Vicki Brentin, a member of the Houston Skyline Rotary Club, Houston, Texas, USA
Anticipation. Excitement. Nervousness. Uncertainty. Hopefulness. Relief. Gratitude. I had all of these not-so-surprising emotions as I passed through the various stations at the mega vaccine site in Houston to receive my COVID-19 vaccination.
At each station, the volunteers looked into my eyes with a keen sense of understanding as if I was their first interaction of the day, when in reality I was close to number 2,500. It seemed to mean so much to them; this moment we shared. And I felt overwhelmed with feelings deep in my soul and heart.
I knew I wanted to volunteer at a vaccination center and be part of this historic moment as we help our communities return to some sense of normal. The more I shared this feeling with friends and fellow Rotarians, the more I heard similar sentiments. I reached out to our district governor, Scott Rainey, and discovered he also had a strong interest in getting members of our district to be a part of the vaccination effort.
For the past few weeks, I have been helping coordinate hundreds of volunteers in our district. Rotary clubs recruited members as well as family, friends, and community partners to join our effort. I also spend time in Denver, and reached out to Rotary members there to support the vaccination effort in that city. In either place, Houston or Denver, the experience was the same. Volunteers were so grateful to be a part of this epic effort. Most volunteered more than once.
One volunteer expressed it well:
“Volunteering was one of my favorite events of the last year. Seeing all of the people involved in vaccinating our friends and neighbors was emotional and inspiring. “
I am grateful to have been a small part of this moment and am confident that all the Rotary members who volunteered or recruited others felt the same way. Whether I was ushering people to the right station, serving at the registration table, taking temperatures, or directing traffic, I never tired of connecting with the people coming to get their vaccines. We all shared a powerful moment that we knew to be life changing – individually and for our community.