Military veterans are helping during the pandemic by using their skills to support the NHS.
Volunteer Chris Smith, who is part of a charity called RE:ACT, formerly Team Rubicon UK, has been helping throughout the pandemic by processing PPE in Nottingham and repacking it ready to be delivered out across the county.
Chris, a former RAF engineer, said he feels “proud” to be using his skills to help the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG get vital kit to GPs and frontline staff across the patch during the pandemic as part of RE:ACT.
RE:ACT is an international disaster response charity primarily made up of ex-military volunteers who provide vital support to frontline emergency services and vulnerable communities across the UK in times of crisis or emergency.
Chris, who lives in Chesterfield, said: “I have been able to use my military logistics experience in this role to help the distribution of PPE across the county to GPs, care homes, dentists and people in the community who are isolating or visiting patients.
“We have created a system so we can log what is coming in and get it packed up and sent out to the right places. We then work with other charities, such as Blood Bikes UK for example, who then deliver it to the relevant places.”
Chris, as part of RE:ACT, has volunteered from Monday to Friday for the past six weeks during the pandemic to help distribute hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves among other items.
He spent 18 years as an RAF engineer before moving into transport distribution, but he says working with the NHS had been “an eye-opening experience.”
He added: “Everyone is so nice. If I had my time again I would love to work for the NHS. It has been such a pleasure to be a part of this and I have enjoyed being part of the team so much. This has given me a sense of purpose and I feel really proud to be able to help during this pandemic.”
Sarah Carter, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG Executive Lead for Covid-19, said: “The work that volunteers have undertaken for the NHS and within the community throughout the pandemic has been outstanding. I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication in helping us to keep our services running smoothly.
“It is important to highlight the importance of volunteers especially as this week is Volunteers’ Week. It is also important that we appreciate the contribution that our volunteers continuously give throughout the year.”
Richard Sharp, CEO of RE:ACT, added: “We’re extremely proud of the support our volunteers have given the NHS. Veterans like Chris exemplify the humility and team spirit that exists in our charity and has really come to the fore as we get behind the incredible work of our frontline services.
“To date, we’ve supported over 60 hospitals and currently have over 200 volunteers on 30 live tasks throughout the UK. It’s been truly humbling to see the impact of our work, not just on the beneficiaries but on our volunteers as well.”