Not all heroes wear capes, uniforms, or badges. Some wear a surgical mask, face shield, exam gloves, and multiple layers of clothes to deliver life-saving vaccines.

Such is the daily attire for members of the Greene County Health Department working in the Greeneville Point of Distribution, or POD, administering the COVID-19 vaccines to citizens of Greeneville and Green County.

The POD is a semi-open drive-through facility. As a result, the staff is subject to the winter weather as they administer the vaccines to participants sitting in their cars. Multiple layers of clothes are worn to keep warm, block the winds, and keep them dry during the rain and snow.

Personal protective equipment, including masks, face shields, and gloves, are worn by the staff for safety. The surgical masks, and toboggans to stay warm, result in a small loss of individual identity that is overcome with the warm greetings and quick but courteous interactions through the check-in and vaccination process.

Despite working long hours in the outdoor facility in the middle of January, the health department staff remain cheerful and welcoming. Their ability to turn a potentially nerve wracking or high anxiety situation into a simple routine visit during the middle of a pandemic makes this small band of unrecognized medical workers our true Hometown Heroes.

Eric Kaltenmark is an emergency services photographer located in Afton, Tn. Comments and questions can be emailed to eric@ek-photography.com

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