As 2021 draws to a close, The Sentinel editor-in-chief Sarah Leach asked each reporter to choose one of our favorite stories of the year, big or small, to share with readers again.
My choice : Volunteers help vulnerable people make appointments with West Michigan Vaccine Hunters Facebook group
It seems a long way off now, but in early 2021, COVID-19 vaccines weren’t widely available to almost everyone as they are now. In early March, only certain groups were eligible for the vaccine, and finding appointments could be difficult for those unfamiliar with using the Internet.
nWhen I learned that volunteers across the state and right here in western Michigan were taking the time to help older people, more vulnerable to COVID-19, make appointments for vaccines , it was uplifting and a reminder that
For the story, I spoke to Sharlene Clark from Holland who told me about the hurdles her parents had to go through to make an appointment for their doses. This is something that many of us, especially older parents, could relate to.
Clark and many others have taken advantage of their experience to help others. Through the West Michigan Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, she estimated that between 1,100 and 1,200 vaccine appointments had been booked in early March.
“I’ve had people crying. I’ve had people wanting to buy me presents and we’re not about that at all,” Clark told me in March. “We’re just volunteers, we’re just helping people.”
The pandemic continues to be long, frustrating and for many tragic. But stories like this are a sign that there are still plenty of people out to help others. And that alone is a reminder of the dignity that belongs to all of us.