1,000,000 COVID-19 Test Kits and Counting

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jana Somero
  • 158th Fighter Wing

The men and women of the Vermont Air National Guard assigned to the COVID Warehouse Taskforce have achieved a grand total of 1,122,504 COVID-19 test kits delivered across the state as of February.

Since the initial launch of the mission on July 20, 2020, long work hours have been commonplace; from the task of making individual COVID-19 test kits to delivering them throughout the state.

“Work has picked up recently,” said Master Sgt. Kirk Betzina, from the 158th Maintenance Squadron and the warehouse manager. “An average week right now is us delivering roughly 120,000 kits whether it be to Bennington or Canaan, we are delivering everywhere.”

Airmen explained that making these deliveries is integral for the state of Vermont’s COVID-19 mission of tracking the spread of coronavirus to help the people stay as safe and healthy as possible.

“What we are doing here is important,” said Tech. Sgt. Rae Couillard, from the 158th Force Support Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard. “Knowing how we’re serving our schools, the parents, and kids, it’s a part of the heart of what we’re accomplishing. We are doing something bigger than ourselves to keep our communities safe.”

As the operation continued to grow, the Vermont Air National Guard consistently brought on new Airmen to assist in the effort.

“Being a new member to this organization, it was eye opening to see all of the progress we’ve made and how everything's run,” said Airman 1st Class Christian Arildsen, from the 158th Maintenance Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard. “I'm incredibly thankful that I have the opportunity to be a part of it while making a positive impact for the state.”

The Vermont Army National Guard began to assist the COVID Warehouse Taskforce in August of 2020. The additional cooperation from the Vermont Army National Guard to work together as one unit has been crucial in making the mission achievable.

“The joint effort between the Vermont Air and Army National Guard has been very key to making this operation successful,” said Betzina. “The diversity that we have within the team, and the different unique qualities that each team member brings is the reason why we can say that we have delivered over one million test kits in a little less than a year and a half.”

With each new variant of the coronavirus, the Vermont Air National Guard and Vermont Army National Guard will continue to work in tandem to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Vermont.