The Army Vaccinates: East Cleveland, OH
The recent line of people waiting outside of the Salvation Army’s East Cleveland Corps Moderna vaccine clinic was reminiscent of the day the corps began four years ago. On that day in January 2017, Salvationists welcomed over 200 members of the community to the groundbreaking ceremony. A year later at its dedication, hundreds more toured the new corps.
This time, they were on line to receive the COVID–19 vaccine.
There were two other health offices in the East Cleveland area already administering vaccines, but they lacked the capacity and equipment for long-term storage. To make sure that all the vaccines they had were given out, officials at city hall authorized the 30,000 sq. ft. Salvation Army facility, which is conveniently located next to a public transportation stop.
“The city knew how the corps operates, and that we have the space and staff to host 300 or more people looking to get vaccinated. We were asked, and immediately, we said yes,” says Major Brian Glasco, corps officer.
A clinic at work
On the day of the first vaccinations, city and county representatives, along with the governor of Ohio visited and witnessed the new clinic at work.
“Our gymnasium was the main location for vaccines,” says Major Glasco. “We had dividers, water and snacks, and even hosted prayer and outreach ministries.”
Seventy-five corps volunteers were on hand to run the clinic smoothly. Health Department and Fire Department EMT personnel were ready to help anyone who may have had negative reactions to the shots. Fortunately, all went well.
“After the first day, we regrouped to see what we did right and what could be improved. We had an easier time when folks came back for their second shot a few weeks later,” says Glasco. “I think that when everyone got over the fear of being so accessible in a health setting, we dove right into the work.”
Glasco said the two rounds of inoculations went flawlessly, and the East Cleveland Corps will host two more clinics for Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in May and June.
Leaving an impact
“The East Cleveland Corps took the place of the Hough Corps, the Salvation Army’s first multipurpose center created to help the community heal after the Hough Riots of 1966,” says Glasco. “This new corps needed to be fully accessible to make a true impact, just like the Hough Corps did.”
“The idea of doing our part to fight a pandemic was not something we could have ever dreamed of when we began this corps,” says Glasco. “But I have been at corps in the past that were a block long, yet they weren’t being accessed and used to their full potential. That is not the case here in East Cleveland. We took an empty building in 2017 and had the vision and focus to make sure that it would never be empty again.”
On the first day of vaccinations, one of the patients left a card with the message, “Thank you for helping to save us,” along with a donation for the corps. Glasco says that the kind gesture meant that the corps is doing the right work, in the right way, at the right time.
“Our vaccine clinic happened to fit right in with the work of Christ; it was the simple dynamics of a biblical stature,” says Major Glasco. “We asked ourselves what Jesus would do. The answer was that He’d be here, healing others.”
by Hugo Bravo