By Laura Harwood

The Boston Medical Reserve Corps is a group of volunteers who are ready to respond to a public health emergency in Boston. In an emergency, volunteers perform a wide range of tasks to help keep the city safe and healthy.

So who volunteers for the Boston MRC? Our volunteers are everyday people like Eric, Sophie, and Erin who live, work, or go to school in the city of Boston. And you don’t need to have a medical background to volunteer with the Boston MRC.

Our February Boston MRC Volunteer of the Month is a nurse, an amateur chef, and comes from a “Friendly” part of the state. Join us in congratulating Erin Flynn!

Erin is a recent graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, where she earned her B.S. in Nursing. She’s currently on the job hunt to put those skills to work, and we’re lucky to have her as part of the Boston MRC.

Erin came to Boston from a small town in western Massachusetts, Wilbraham, MA. Wilbraham is a suburb of Springfield, and best known as the home of Friendly’s ice cream.

Erin came to Boston for college, and she liked city life so much, she decided to stay. It also helps that she considers Boston a “healthcare Mecca,” and believes her job prospects here will be strong. In her free time, Erin enjoys rescuing animals, hiking, and taking trips to the Museum of Science. She’s proud to share her home with two small rescue mutts and a chubby old rescue cat. She is an avid baker, saying her specialty is funfetti cupcakes, and she is currently trying to master soufflés. Regarding her soufflé , Erin tells us, “I blame my failures on my barking dog causing them so go flat, rather than my own ineptitude.”

Erin joined the Boston MRC after seeing a recruitment poster about it on the street near her school, and signed up immediately (we love that!). She feels like Boston provided her with a lot of opportunity, and it seemed right for her to use her skills to help Boston.

Erin’s love of volunteering and health care shined at the two City of Boston flu clinics held in late 2011. She served as a vaccine administrator, and was energetic, hard working, and a critical part of our vaccination team. Erin’s favorite memory with the Boston MRC came from the most recent flu clinic at the Boston Teachers Union.

“The clinic had such a range of characters attend – the state troopers who kept coming in to get their flu shots were such good sports, with great senses of humor. I also had an elementary-school aged boy come to my station who refused to have the flu mist until I bartered with him that I’d let him hold my hand while I did it, so we really ended up doing it together. He was a brave kid! The group of nurses and everyone who works at the BPHC and volunteer at the clinics are all really wonderful, though, and it’s always a pleasure to volunteer with them!”

In terms of skills, dedication, and positive attitude, Erin is an ideal Boston MRC member. We’re excited that she continues to participate in Boston MRC trainings. We just hope she stays in Boston! Congratulations Erin on this well deserved honor, and we look forward to seeing you at future Boston MRC trainings and activations.

Sophie was our December volunteer of the month, and Eric was our January volunteer of the month. Check back next month to meet another Boston MRC volunteer.

Laura Harwood is a program manager for the Boston Medical Reserve Corps, a program of the Boston Public Health Commission.

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