Most everyone living in Colorado today can remember a time when the Colorado National Guard has stepped in to keep us safe and lend a helping hand in the darkest moments of natural or man-caused emergencies. Floods, forest fires, and events such as the Aurora Theater or Columbine shootings bring out the best in these service men and women who have trained and taken an oath for the people of Colorado and the United States.
We are all acutely aware of our service men and women in times of crisis, but they are also at our service in many other ways, including helping communities all over the state own their health. Starting thirty-five years ago, 9Health Fair had a need to get hundreds of boxes full of medical supplies and materials to fair sites all over Colorado. Colorado National Guard saw this need and realized it could lend a helping hand. A perfect union was born!
Every year since, the Colorado National Guard has used delivering 9Health Fair supplies as a training exercise – this continues to be an opportunity to remain in peak performance with procedures for delivering materials and supplies during any number of emergencies Coloradoans might face today.
“This affords us the opportunity to have a direct daily impact across our state and our local communities,” said Master Sergeant Roger Carstensen. 9Health Fair could not have asked for a more admirable partner with whom to pursue a mission of advancing health awareness.
This year, 888 boxes of medical supplies and materials traveled with 34 Service Members on a combined journey of 9,200 miles to over 130 sites all across Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Colorado pulled out all the stops this spring for weather, heightening the training experience for the service members. The spring brought snow storms requiring chains on the semi rear drive axles to make it over mountain passes, followed by frequent rainstorms leading to near flooding conditions. The National Guard still made it to their destinations right on time.
MSgt Carstensen mused that Air National Guard members always encounter great attitudes and personalities while delivering boxes. Even having just met, some 9Health Fair site volunteerswhisked the service members away to relax Colorado style after a long day’s work. As a means to say thank you, the volunteers entertained the men and women of the 233rd Space Group at their homes and took them out to enjoy mini fishing expeditions.
After supplies have been delivered and the 18-wheelers start rolling once again, the same sentiments seem to be had by all. Full of gratitude and waving, volunteers and service members alike say they can’t wait to see each other next year!