GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan National Guard is helping organize and distribute critical medical supplies to medical facilities throughout the state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.The supplies, commonly called personal protective equipment (PPE), have been dispatched from the national stockpile to Michigan.“There is a lot of equipment that has been shipped in,” said Dr. Jerry Evans, medical director for Region 6 Healthcare Coalition and West Michigan Regional Medical Consortium. “We need to break that down, divide it up, and get it to the appropriate places at the appropriate times.”Because of the high demand and large amount of PPE, the coalition acknowledged the importance of having the Guard to help.“The National Guard is a critical element in this because we need logistical help,” said Evans. “We have so much equipment coming in, such as masks, gowns, and a lot of other supplies being sent to us by the federal government through the state and through the strategic national stockpile.”“More than 2,400 hundred face shields just came in that have to be broken down,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Schrot, 1st Battalion, 125th Regiment, 63rd Troop Brigade, Michigan Army National Guard. “There’s a lot of gloves, face shields, surgical masks, N-95 masks, gowns, Tyvek suits and hand sanitizers.”Evans said the equipment helps serve 1.4 million people.“We have 13 counties, 22 acute care hospitals, two free-standing medical departments, two psychiatric hospitals, a number of rehab hospitals, plus 63 nursing homes where we try to help as much as we can in providing equipment, PPE, and other things that they need.”Although the Guard’s primary mission is to work in the warehouse, members have had an opportunity to see the impact of their mission.“One of our Soldiers made a delivery to a smaller nursing facility and he was greeted by 15-20 staff members that were in tears because he showed up with this PPE they needed,” said Schrot. “That really opened my eyes to what’s really going on out there.”Evans praised the partnership that made the effort possible.“This is an opportunity for the Guard to come in and really help us and meet a lot of the needs that we have not been able to meet on our own,” he said. “It’s an incredible partnership. We’re grateful for it and want to thank everybody in the Guard for doing what they do.”For more National Guard news: Guard Facebook: Guard Twitter: Guard COVID-19 Response: (COVID-19): from the CDC: Response: