By Nick Solari
The Boston Medical Reserve Corps (Boston MRC) is a community-based volunteer program that prepares for and may respond to emergencies to support the public health infrastructure of the City of Boston. Operating under the Office of Public Health Preparedness, members of the Boston MRC are organized and trained to address a wide range of challenges from disaster response to public health education.
So who volunteers for the Boston MRC? Our members are everyday people like Luis, Eric, Sophie, Erin, and Helen who live, work, and/or go to school in the City of Boston. Boston MRC members from both the medical and nonmedical fields are leaders in their communities who donate their time and expertise in order to ensure that all Bostonians, especially the most vulnerable, are prepared and have access to the help they need during a public health emergency.
The Boston MRC Volunteer of the Month for February is Helen Nichols!
Since joining the Boston MRC in October 2012, Helen has taken an amazing 29 emergency preparedness trainings, including Psychological First Aid, Hurricane Mitigation Basics, and Workplace Violence Awareness Training. While all Boston MRC members take emergency preparedness classes offered through the DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness, Helen has expanded her curriculum by taking a number of courses through the FEMA Independent Study Program.
According to Helen, she joined the Boston MRC because she “wanted to assist Boston’s most vulnerable communities,” and she knew that she “wanted to help make sure no one was excluded in times of crisis.” Helen has turned her passion into a promise to prepare herself, her family, her friends, and her neighborhood and is doing so by learning as much as she can.
Most recently, Helen served as a volunteer leader for a community outreach campaign alerting the public of the availability of free flu clinics as a part of the city’s flu prevention efforts. Leading a team of four, Helen and other volunteers distributed almost 1,000 flyers around the Grove Hall Mecca Mall. About her volunteer service, Helen says, “It was a humbling experience to see so many people respond so positively to the message being sent about the importance of getting a flu shot.”
Helen moved to Boston in the 1970s to go to college at Northeastern. Upon graduating, she decided to stay because she “wanted to help people in this city.” Helen has been working with disadvantaged populations of Boston for over 25 years and feels “very honored that the lives and futures of others have been guided in a positive direction through her work.” Helen currently lives in Dorchester, where she has a vegetable garden and loves to cook.
Thank you, Helen, for your service and commitment to the Boston MRC!
Nick Solari is the unit coordinator for the Boston Medical Reserve Corps and is a program manager for the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission. Want to get involved with MRC? Click here to learn more or sign up today