National Guard sergeants arrive in Steamboat to help with COVID-19 response
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS —Two members of the Colorado Air National Guard arrived in Steamboat Springs this week to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Master Sgt. Megan Legacy and Technical Sgt. Cinde Yoho are assisting the local emergency operations center with planning for a possible surge in medical demands amid the public health crisis. Routt County health officials have suggested the largest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area will be reached later this month, around April 19.
Officials already have identified the Howelsen Ice Arena and the Steamboat Springs Community Center as places to house patients in the event UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center reaches capacity.
Steamboat is the first community the two sergeants have traveled to assist in the fight against the pandemic. They arrived on Tuesday, Legacy said, and have been integrating into the local team at the emergency operations center. National Guard members have been deployed to communities across the country to help with the crisis.
Their motto is “Always ready, always there.”
During wartime, the U.S. National Guard’s policy is to be the first to respond and the last to leave, Legacy explained. But during a community response, such as assisting with the current health crisis, troops play more of a secondary role by buttressing the efforts of local leaders.
“We are not here to take over or take charge,” Legacy explained. “We are here to help in any way we can.”
An 11-year member of the Air Force Reserve, Legacy continues to serve at the Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. She has extensive experience in developing protocols around major emergencies, including an associate degree in disaster preparedness.
Yoho has been with the National Guard since 2009 as a munitions ammo craftsman. She has a master’s degree in social work and has volunteered for carious natural disaster relief teams in the past.
Both feel a deep commitment to protecting Colorado and ensuring the state can weather the current crisis.
“We have a vested interest in our community recovering,” Legacy said.
In a news release, Routt County Emergency Operations Director David “Mo” DeMorat said he appreciates the addition of two military-trained personnel to his team.
“As soon as they arrived, they hit the ground running and have already provided great organizational and technical expertise,” DeMorat said in the release.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — wear a mask in indoor, public spaces in Routt County.