COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a state active duty proclamation on Wednesday that will activate approximately 300 personnel from the Ohio National Guard to support humanitarian efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Monday, the National Guard will support the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks at locations throughout Ohio.
The soldiers will help Ohioans during this pandemic by transporting, packaging, and distributing food to homes in vulnerable areas, community-based locations, and partner agencies in rural counties.
"The action I've taken to activate the Ohio National Guard will provide support to our food pantries that are low on staff and need help getting food to some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Gov. DeWine in a statement. "By looking out for our neighbors and following proper health safety guidelines, we will make it through this together".
National Guard members from the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Columbus have been requested to assist local food distributions in Allen, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Hocking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, and Summit counties.
Members of the Ohio Military Reserve, a component of the Ohio State Defense Force, will also be placed on state active duty to coordinate with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks at the food bank locations.
The Ohio National Guard says it is ready to support any additional requests in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They have had experience working with civilian authoritites in dealing with homeland emergencies, such as:
- In 1978, Ohio National Guard soldiers helped evacuate stranded motorists, delivered supplies and cleared snow during a massive blizzard.
- In 2009, when the H1N1 Pandemic hit, soldiers distributed vital vaccinations and medical supplies.
- During the 2017 hurricane season, more than 400 Ohio National Guard airmen and soldiers deployed to Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist in recovery efforts.
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