NASHVILLE, Tennessee –
During this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, people from around America are finding innovative ways to contribute to those working on the front lines and Air Force recruiters are no different.
Staff Sgt. Brandon McKeever, 342nd Recruiting Squadron, B-Flight recruiter, learned about the needs of a local hospital while he was talking to one of his nurse applicants and found a way the Air Force could help.
“The applicant mentioned a shortage of supplies and necessities,” McKeever said. “She said in some cases her coworkers were having to switch out scrubs multiple times a day.”
This sparked an idea for McKeever, who knew there were boxes of special promotional items in his storage closet that could be used on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle.
“We’ve had countless boxes of scrubs in our office since I arrived here in Nashville,” he said. “They are branded with the Air Force logo and Air Force Health Professions.”
McKeever reached out to Vanderbilt Medical Center to see if our scrubs could be utilized.
“I decided on Vanderbilt because it is the focal point for the COVID-19 response to cases in the Central Tennessee area,” he said. “My flight has done a few presentations and conducted business with Vanderbilt University Medical Center or Vanderbilt University on a few occasions, so it seemed like the most logical place.”
He noted that most health care facilities have regulations on what scrubs they can wear unless branded with their own logo. But during this pandemic, the rules have changed due to tremendous shortages of private protective equipment.
“They were genuinely excited for the donation,” he said. “There has been a huge outreach of people donating handmade face masks, but for us to be in the position to donate as many sets of scrubs as we did was undoubtedly extremely helpful and needed during these times.”
“We are very appreciative at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to receive these scrubs,” said Teresa L. Dail, a nurse who is the chief supply chain officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “They came right at the time we were talking about the need to ensure our clinical staff caring for COVID-19 patients could start wearing scrubs, provided and laundered by the hospital, verses wearing their traditional uniforms to and from the hospital,”
“The staff was overwhelmed by the generosity and quickly embraced wearing them, with pride, in our emergency department,” Dail continued. “This donation allowed us to focus funds on other much-needed supplies to help support our staff and our patients.”
McKeever and Tech. Sgt. Joe Czito, a recruiter from his flight, loaded one of their vehicles with eight boxes of scrubs, totaling about 600 sets. Once the scrubs were safely delivered, the hospital sent the scrubs out to be laundered before being disseminated to the field for use.
McKeever’s resourceful thinking lead to other recruiting flights donating gear to the front lines, which he acknowledges was special. In total, the squadron donated 1,582 sets of scrubs to medical centers throughout their area of responsibility.
“I felt a sense of pride. If something like this is in any way able to help anyone stay safe, it is all worth it,” he said. “We are in a time where a lot of us may be feeling helpless with ways we are able to help or provide support so it makes me feel good that I was able to contribute.”
McKeever said he has received nothing but positivity from his peers and leadership.
“I'm glad I work in an environment where things like this are encouraged for our Airmen to do,” he said. “This promotes our Airmen to find ways to support their communities.”
Vanderbilt University Medical Center expressed their appreciation.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of organizations like yours that have embraced the willingness to support our front line staff who are truly heroes – just like you and your colleagues in the Air Force and the Armed Forces. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” Dail said.