While a member of the LCHS girls soccer team, Morgan Fagan always remained fearless in the face of adversity and was willing to play the role her team needed her to play.
Now, Fagan is demonstrating that same fearlessness in her role as a Georgia National Guard combat medic on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19.
Although she felt she was prepared based on her training, when Fagan received the call that she had been activated by the National Guard a little over a week ago she admitted that she was a bit anxious at first.
“Initially, I definitely had some anxiety,” said Fagan, who is serving with 178th MP Company of the 201st Regional Support Group Brigade of the 170th MP Battalion. “I’ve gone through training, so it wasn’t like ‘What do I do?’ But, I felt some anxiety and stress because this is something that the military or the world in general hasn’t dealt with before.”
Within a few hours of Fagan arriving she was told that she would be working as a medic for the 201st Regional Support Group Brigade in Atlanta.
“At first, I was told that New York was a possibility and that New Orleans was a possibility,” Fagan said. “As of now, though, I am in Atlanta. But, we are on Title 32 orders which I am pretty sure means federal and that they could send us wherever that want us to go and wherever we are needed.”
Title 32 allows the Governor, with approval of the President or the Secretary of Defense, to order a member of the National Guard to duty for operational Homeland Defense activities. Federal authority over National Guard members falls under Title 32 of the U.S. Code. This is considered federal active duty for specific state missions and full-time Guard positions.
MEDIC ON ALERT
For the past week Fagan has worked as the lone medic for her battalion. Her days consist of waking up early and screening activated National Guardsman before they are allowed to enter the armory to prepare for their missions decontaminating nursing homes in the Atlanta area.
After her morning screening work, Fagan then performs her role as the medic for the battalion.
“During the day, I am there in case anyone needs me,” Fagan said. “Sometimes I go out to the sites where the missions are being done if someone needs me there. Otherwise, they are sent to me. I literally am the only medic around.”
Fagan said that she wished that there was another medic who was more experienced to learn from, but knows that she has a role to play and that she must do the best she can with what she has learned.
Equipped with only masks and gloves, Fagan is a bit anxious about not having the proper equipment, especially during the morning screenings.
“A lot of the gear is sent out during the missions,” Fagan said. “Sometimes I worry that as the only medic that I shouldn’t be in contact with as many people as I am just in case I am needed for a medical emergency.”
Those performing the missions of decontamination are well equipped with full hazmat-style suits and personal protective equipment (PPE), according to Fagan.
Fagan is currently activated for a minimum of 45 days, but could see more time if she is needed or if the COVID 19 pandemic continues.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Fagan added that the nature of her mission battling COVID 19 was something she wasn’t expecting to have to do when she originally joined the National Guard.
“I knew that this unit responded to a lot of hurricanes, but we didn’t know that this huge virus was going to breakout,” Fagan said. “So, I never thought about that and I never thought that I’d be activated in my first two years. It doesn’t happen often, if ever.”
Despite the uncertainty and the hazards of her job as medic for the 178th MP Company and the 201st Regional Support Group Brigade of the 170th MP Battalion, Fagan is proud that she is getting a chance to make a difference against the pandemic.
“I definitely am proud that I'm doing my part on the front lines,” Fagan said. “I don’t necessarily like being away from home and my family, but if I were home doing nothing I would wish that I was here. I’m glad I am here. I am glad I am doing something and being a part of something to help because I am learning a lot and that will help me out in the future.”
For Fagan’s father, LCMS teacher and coach Bryan Fagan, his daughter’s departure to help on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus was something that he admits is stressful.
“When she first got activated, I felt that I had to remain calm,” said Bryan. “If the captain is calm, then the sailors are calm. But, when she left the next morning, I’ll admit I was anxious and a little worried.”
However, despite his anxiety, Bryan said he knows that his daughter is well equipped to tackle this new challenge.
“Morgan has always been strong,” he said. “She has always been able to maneuver through anything thrown at her. But, as a father, you worry about your little girl going into something like this because there are a lot of unknowns. I just have to trust that everything she’s done to this point in her life has prepared her to get through this as well.”