Doctor giving patient vaccine. Shutterstock ID 1498605842 by Arturs Budkevics

TSA employees volunteer in COVID vaccine effort

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, the country, and to a significant degree, the employees and families of those in the federal workforce. Indeed, there have been over 550,000 confirmed U.S. deaths—a significant chunk of a staggering worldwide toll fast approaching 3 million lives lost. It’s part of these horrifying statistics: thousands of current and retired federal employees have been sickened or killed by the virus.

Of course, though many feds can and do work remotely, many other federal employees actually staff the frontlines against the pandemic—as healthcare, first responder, law enforcement or other security professional—and take far more risk than the average person among the public.

What’s remarkable is that so many of these brave feds take on additional work—some of it involving additional risk—to fight the pandemic all the more, as volunteer postings or in their off-hours.

To wit, at least 50 employees of the Transportation Security Administration are doing just that. They have volunteered to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s big push to help staff such efforts across the country—working on FEMA’s Surge Capacity Force.

The SCF allows TSA workers—and those from other federal agencies—to take time out from their regular jobs to join FEMA for up to 45 days, assisting at myriad community vaccination centers all over the U.S.

“TSA employees who volunteer to serve on the Surge Capacity Force have an inner passion that drives them to help others in need,” Darby LaJoye, the current senior official acting in the duties of the TSA Administrator, said in a release. “They leave the comfort of their homes, families and jobs to join FEMA’s efforts for weeks at a time. The push to vaccinate more Americans represents a fine example of how TSA and other DHS components jointly support the greater calling to assist our fellow Americans.”

Over 400 feds currently are attached to the SCF, with most having participated previously in hurricane disaster response. Those in the vaccination effort for the most part are working in logistics and administrative assignments, after being sent to Texas for training. If a volunteer hasn’t already, they receive a COVID vaccine in preparation for the task at hand.

Federal employee voluntary efforts, like those seen in the SCF, are yet another powerful illustration of how people in the government’s workforce ultimately impact the country in a positive way.

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2021 Digital Almanac

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