TOLEDO, Ohio — To help support those nurses and other health care staff, National Guard members have been deployed to hospitals across Ohio, including Toledo.
"We got the call that we were being activated and we reported the next day," Spc. Micah Thorp said. He came to Mercy St. Vincent's Medical Center Dec. 22, spending the holidays away from his family in Greenville, Ohio.
"That's just part of signing up for the armed services," Thorp, who normally manages security for a major retailer, said. "And one of the reasons I joined the Guard is because I wanted to be able to help on the homefront at well."
Being in the military for a decade, two years with the National Guard, he says he's prepared for just about anything.
"My job in the military is dealing with chemicals, biological, nuclear and everything else. So being able to suit up to go into rooms and everything else is not something that I'm not familiar with," he said.
This is his first mission of the pandemic. He and his team have been working to clean the hospital, doing everything from taking out the trash to sanitizing elevators.
Whatever needs to be done.
The staff at the hospital welcomed them with open arms.
"Thank you isn't enough for all that they've done and all the help they've provided," Mercy St. Vincent Hospital President Jeff Dempsey said. "The boost in the folks' morale, to know that these folks are here to serve and they're here helping us in one of our most difficult times in our community."
It's not clear how long he'll stay in Toledo, but Thorp says it's a pleasure. He says it's been interesting for him to learn how stretched-thin hospital employees have become.
"We're Ohioans helping Ohioans," he said. "We're all in this together. We love our communities and we're honored to be called upon in this time of need."
Thorp's oldest child is also a National Guard Member. She's serving a similar mission right now at a different hospital, and he says he's proud to serve alongside her.