Gov. Doug Burgum says more than 750 North Dakotas have signed up for the state’s Workforce Coordination Center.
Weeks ago, he and Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann made a call to action. The WCC was created to ramp up emergency services by bringing in volunteers and those in need of work.
KX News spoke with a couple of people who stood up, and answered that call.
Each morning, bright and early, Sarah Berreth and Samuel Zezeus are the first people to report to Fraine Barracks, the North Dakota National Guard headquarters, a site that has become the center of the COVID-19 response.
They do this day-in-and-day-out, all to make the State’s frontline stronger than ever.
“You join together as a community and do what you can to help, so it was a way I could connect, not having connections with any organizations, with any companies, hospitals; for me to be able to plug in and do what I could,” shared Berreth, a registered Nurse and temporary state worker with the Department of Emergency Services.
“I just got an email saying, ‘How do you feel about working tomorrow?’ And then I got a call saying, ‘We really hope you feel good about working tomorrow’. And then I showed up the next day,” added Zezeus, another temporary state worker and Combat Medic for the North Dakota National Guard.
Berreth and Zezeus take shifts with a few other volunteers in a trailer at Fraine Barracks. Starting at 6 a.m., they screen workers and take temperatures for everyone who comes to the base, and they do it seven days a week.
But this is not a normal routine for them.
“I was working in Africa for 10 years, in Mozambique, and returned to the United States in January. I had given myself three months to reintegrate, kind of transition back into the States, and then was going to look for a job. And then COVID hit, and job hiring opportunities changed,” Berreth explained.
She heard the Governor’s message in a press conference, and immediately signed up.
Zezeus was a fulltime college student at the University of Mary pre-pandemic. He’s also a Medic with the Guard and says this is what he wants to do in the long run.
“It’s kind of fulfilling to know there’s a chance for me to actually do that right now, which is actually kind of slick to be able to help out people during the crisis, even if it’s a small thing to do; anything at all,” he shared.
“I wouldn’t consider myself on the frontlines per se, really the staff in the hospitals and the physicians who are seeing people face-to-face who are sick,” Berreth added.
Either way, these two are showing up every morning, dawning scrubs and masks, making sure the state’s emergency services remain fully operational.
Click here for more information about the Workforce Coordination Center, including how to sign up and what positions are needed.