SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 18, 2020) – The City of San Antonio and the Air Force Personnel Center yesterday honored and thanked 17 military personnel for their contribution to the COVID-19 Response Team. Since June, service members from the 433rd Airlift Wing and Alamo Federal Executive Board have engaged in a joint effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the region. This is a first-of-its-kind and historic joint effort with the City, as the impact of COVID-19 affects military, civilians, business, families and tourism across Bexar County. At yesterday's ceremony, these 17 individuals were also honored with the The Armed Forces Service Medal.
Footage and photos of the event are available for download here.
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"The City of San Antonio appreciates its relationship with our military partners, and the help they provided in the COVID-19 response – guided by the military's significant medical expertise – shows how strongly our community is linked to the military," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. "Our gratitude for the military runs deep, and we are endlessly impressed by their selfless commitment our nation and city."
The mission of the COVID-19 Response Team is to deliver quality and timely public health information and data to protect the region's residents from the spread of COVID-19. Although made up of different agencies, the response team works as a single unit to safeguard the health and safety of all residents.
"This is yet another example of the outstanding partnership between the City and the military," said City of San Antonio Office of Military and Veteran Affairs Director Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, USMC (Ret). "During this once-in-a lifetime event, the efforts of military personnel assisting with the City's response are immensely important and help ensure that our community is both well-informed and remains safe during these challenging times."
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The Alamodome COVID-19 Response Team is led by Interim Metro Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger, Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo, Assistant Director of Communicable Disease Dr. Anita Kurian (serving as Technical Expert Response Lead), and Office of Military and Veteran Affairs Director retired Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala (serving as Operational Lead). The response team is made up of several branches, including: Case Investigations, Congregate Settings, Data, Epidemiology, Operations and Provider Line. In June, Military personnel were deployed to work at the COVID-19 hotline when San Antonio experienced a surge in cases. Nearly two months later, they were stationed at the Alamodome and are currently helping with case investigations.
"It is a privilege to partner with the City's COVID-19 response team in its efforts to combat the virus and take care of each other," said Kimberly Toney, Executive Director of the Air Force Personnel Center. "Our Airmen live and work in San Antonio and in the surrounding communities. We're in this together and we'll get through this together in Military City, USA."
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