Park City Rotary Honors Force Behind Vaccine Campaign
Park City Rotary on Tuesday held a special ceremony to bestow a series of Community Appreciation Awards for Summit County’s vaccination efforts.
Rotary saluted leaders from the county health department; business owners, and hundreds of people who made up the Summit County's mass vaccination volunteer force.
In a statement, Rotary said that due to the local vaccine effort, 99 percent of county residents 50 and older had received at least one dose by June 1st of this year, and 89 percent of that population were fully vaccinated.
County Manager Tom Fisher told the audience at Rotary Park that they started planning early, but struggled to find a vaccination site that was accessible and centrally located. Then Gary and Debbie Crandall stepped forward to provide the Utah Film Studio free of charge for five months.
Fisher said that because of the Crandalls, who were honored by Rotary with a plaque, Summit County was the only area that didn’t have to ask the state for help.
The county’s mass vaccination volunteer force grew to 450 people, led by a small county staff of 10. Kevin McCarthy, one of the Rotarians who nominated the force and a volunteer himself, talked about the operation that began last January 5 and ended on May 27.
“Each 4-hour shift at the clinic required up to 45 volunteers to operate. They included medical staff to actually administer the vaccine, medical doctor on site, administration to process registrations and report the process, the recovery area to continuously monitor the patients, and then additional people to handle the logistics of traffic arriving, directing vehicles into proper lanes, all the while keeping drivers and workers safe. A normal 8-hour clinic consumed about 90 volunteers per day, when the clinic was operating at maximum throughput.”
McCarthy said the volunteers contributed nearly 15,000 hours and embodied the true American spirit.
Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson, who was also a volunteer, said there was a special vibe at the clinics.
“The enthusiasm, not just of the people who were participating, but also the people that were coming through, and then to see your friends and neighbors as they’re coming through the line. And it was just a joyful kind of experience. And a lot of credit for that goes to Chris and Derek because of, as I like to say, leadership really matters. They were setting the tone. They were happy to be there every single day.”
Olson was one of the Rotarians who nominated two leaders of the vaccination effort for honors: Derek Moss, the county’s nursing director, and former nursing director at the county jail; and Chris Crowley, Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator.
Rich Bullough, recently retired as health director, said that Moss brought a unique attitude to the job.
“Derek Moss is completely and absolutely, utterly insane. He came on as nursing director in the middle of a pandemic. And for months, I would say, ‘I can’t believe you did this.’ And he’d smile and say, ‘It’s fun.’ And I don’t know if that speaks to Derek or the jail.”
Bullough also talked about how Chris Crowley approached the pandemic.
“He came really early on and said ‘I’m gonna plan this thing like an event. That’s what I do.’ And I didn’t know what that meant. I was thinking logistics. But in fact it became an event. People were energized, enthusiastic. All of you involved in the clinics had smiles on your faces. I’d go over there and it just continually blew me away. And it was like an old-time Summit County event.”
Recognition was also given to Phil Bondurant, who was deputy director last year; Shelley Worley, the county’s health promotion director at the time; and Katie Mullaly, a former staffer who came back to support the vaccine effort.
Bondurant is now the Health Director, and Worley is Deputy Director.
Bondurant said that the efforts by the citizens of Summit County will be remembered.
“Hundreds of volunteers, the staff members that came over and spent 12-14-hour days in the snow. They had a positive impact on people’s lives outside of COVID. And they’re always going to have that one thing that they can remember that when their grandchildren or their children talk about learning about that in schools and in history books, they’re gonna say, ‘Oh, yeah, this is what I did because of Summit County.’”
` County Health Director Phil Bondurant.