Angie Strawn, Ed.D., a registered nurse, has strong ties to Jesuit High School. All five of her sons attended the all-boys Catholic school in Carmichael, with one currently a member of the faculty. So when Jesuit’s president, the Rev. John P. McGarry, S.J., told her that the school was going to be a COVID-19 vaccination site, Strawn, who describes her current working state as “preferment” (“I’m doing whatever I prefer,” she says), jumped at the chance to help out. “I’ve seen my nurse colleagues really give so much of themselves,” says Strawn, who was looking for some way to help during the pandemic. “When I got this opportunity, it was like, ‘I could still use my nursing and help relieve this pandemic.’”
Since late January, Strawn has been administering shots—“Using a syringe was nothing new to me,” she says—alongside fellow volunteers, including other nurses, doctors and dentists. Jesuit faculty, staff and student volunteers also assist with the effort. Strawn, who has been a nurse for 56 years and considers Florence Nightingale her hero (“If she were alive today, she would be giving vaccinations,” she says), finds the work rewarding. “Volunteering has been something I have done since I was in high school. It is just part of my DNA. It goes along with being a nurse,” says Strawn, who knits hats that are distributed by Mercy Pedalers to people experiencing homelessness and sews fleece blankets for children through Project Linus.
The vaccine work is labor-intensive—“When you do 2,100 shots in a few hours, it’s a lot,” she points out—but knowing the difference she’s made by volunteering her time makes it worthwhile. “I’ve had grandparents say, ‘I’m now going to be able to see that grandchild I’ve never met’ and 30-somethings cry, ‘This is such a load off my shoulders,’” says Strawn. “Universally everybody is grateful.”
Jesuit High School’s vaccination clinics ended in mid-March. However, clinics continue to take place around the region, and Strawn donates her time to them. To find one near you, go to dhs.saccounty.net.