Surry shows way on vaccinations

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Amid all of the chaos surrounding the logistics required to test, register and inoculate the populous of the commonwealth, Surry nailed it!

It is not like Richmond was hit by a season of wildfires, catastrophic flooding or similar overnight circumstances, but rather a tsunami of historic proportions. A tsunami of its citizenry trying desperately to contact their local health departments to secure a place in line.

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All summer long and into last autumn, we all knew the day was coming when the vaccines would arrive. Troubles in the testing phase showed how unprepared the commonwealth really was.

I could go on to point out that surrounding counties relied heavily on technology “computers” to funnel the flood of emails into some ever-evolving database. Trouble is, they forgot how to answer the phone.

This is where Surry got it right. As the rollout began, phone numbers were posted and registration via “leaving a message” was established. My confirmation came within weeks via text.

Next, some five phone lines were given to receive calls. I made my call and within several rings, it was answered — by none other than Surry’s chief of emergency management, Mr. Ray Phelps! Now that is service.

I received my vaccine appointment to Surry High School and arrived to find the entire setup was textbook. Greeted by a deputy from Surry Sheriff’s Department to answer questions. Signage clearly posted to inform on the process. Chairs spaced apart on opposite sides of the hall for seating. A constant flow of Surry’s residents receiving their vaccinations. Neighbors serving neighbors. High school security lending a hand, rescue squad on stand-by. Volunteers everywhere.

I just wish to thank all of those who in a time of great challenges rose to the occasion and made it look, may I dare say, normal.

Makes me proud to call Surry home.


Thomas L.S. Mayes