Who knew volunteering could be so contagious?
Battle Ground residents Jack and Lisa Stump began volunteering in January to help with Clark County Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Soon after, they started recruiting friends and old colleagues.
Jack Stump, a 67-year-old retired physician, and Lisa Stump, a 58-year-old retired nurse, reeled in Lisa Dong, 59, to volunteer. Then Dong added her husband, Steve Dong, a 61-year-old retired doctor, and her son Kenny Dong, 27, to the list of local volunteers.
“We’re very pleased people have joined us,” Jack Stump said.
The five are a fraction of the helpful hands Public Health has utilized this year to vaccinate people in Clark County.
While vaccine supply has increased, it’s been important for Public Health to find vaccinators to jab needles into arms and also administrative volunteers to make sure vaccination clinics run smoothly.
So far, Clark County Public Health has had more than 280 people volunteer in medical and nonmedical capacities with its vaccination efforts at adult family homes, housing authority facilities and at fixed-location vaccination sites, such as the Woodland High School clinic and the standing site at Tower Mall in Vancouver.
With volunteers’ help, Public Health has been involved in the administration of more than 3,550 doses of vaccine.
Tracy Rude, a 62-year-old nurse from Orchards, said the immensity of local vaccination efforts has resonated with her.
“There are a tremendous amount of people out there trying to get vaccine in arms,” Rude said.
Rude also volunteered with Public Health for H1N1 immunizations in 2009. She said volunteering is always something she’s enjoyed doing.
“People are happy and grateful when they get vaccinated, which makes me feel happy,” Rude said. “It’s nice to get some positive feedback.”
Dong said her family has viewed volunteering as a safe and important reason to leave the house during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a day of volunteering, the family feels “good inside,” Dong said.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” she continued. “It makes you feel like you have helped a lot of people.”
Jack and Lisa Stump have played multiple roles in the vaccination effort – acting as vaccinators, helping people fill out paperwork, recruiting volunteers and training volunteers.
They view vaccines as the quickest and best way to return to a more normal life. Jack Stump retired in January 2020, months before the pandemic began, and Lisa Stump retired in June 2020.
The couple had planned to travel for early retirement, but quarantine quickly canceled their plans. Gone were trips to St. Louis, Mo., for two weddings, a trip to Belize for leisure and a trip to visit their daughter at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
They said they know that if they continue their volunteer work, those trips can become a reality again, in due time. For now, they’ll focus on what’s needed and the work that has fulfilled them over the last three months.
“It makes me feel great to volunteer. It’s very invigorating,” Lisa Stump said. “Since we retired, it gives us a new purpose in a pandemic. We feel like we are making a difference.”