SEA GIRT, N.J. – The moment that New Jersey National Guard members were activated for the fight against COVID-19, hundreds of Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen volunteered to serve their communities.Across the state, military doctors and medical staff were there on the opening days of the drive-thru test sites, assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the New Jersey Department of Health, the Office of Emergency Management, the New Jersey State Police, and countless nurses and medical staff called into action.Guard members are also controlling traffic at testing sites; helping set up, secure and administer federal medical stations; assisting medical examiners at mortuary sites, and providing medical and administrative support to long-term care facilities throughout the state.While New Jersey’s Soldiers and Airmen have put their all into the COVID-19 mission and supporting the people of New Jersey, a Task Force was created to support Guard members and their families during these stressful times.The Resiliency Task Force, a joint effort between the New Jersey National Guard Behavioral Health Office and the Chaplain’s Corps, has traveled across the state, supporting Soldiers and Airmen in need.“Behavioral Health is an important part of medical readiness,” said Shawna Hinkson, a civilian social worker with the Behavioral Health Office. “It has a lot to do with how we interact; it affects the social; it affects our ability to focus on tasks.”Working in teams of two or three, the Task Force has been going out to talk to service members directly.“We’re going around to all the different sites throughout New Jersey,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Ball, a behavioral health officer. “We’re doing check-ins and reminding them that it’s important to take care of other people during this time but to also take care of themselves. You do have a mission, but it’s important to know that you can take a knee, and reflect on a daily basis, and just make sure that you’re well mentally, physically and emotionally. You can’t do your daily mission unless you’re 100% yourself.”Team members noted they’ve had a direct impact on the missions, and have already aided service members and their families.“It feels good to help others,” said Capt. Melissa Parmenter, a behavioral health officer. “It’s good to be that person to help remind others about self-care because it’s probably the easiest thing to forget about, although it might be the most important.”Chaplain Capt. Damon Missouri is also part of the Task Force, providing spiritual resiliency and services to Guard members.“We have four chaplains assigned to specific sites, but my role is tied directly to behavioral health,” said Missouri. “We travel to each site in the state on a weekly basis, introducing ourselves to leaders and offering support to Soldiers, Airmen and their families. I offer prayer and confidential counseling for service members that have things on their heart and mind that may be difficult to talk about.”Missouri said that being around the Guard members and seeing what missions they’re dealing with gives him an opportunity to provide comfort, encouraging words and hope.“It’s a ministry of presence,” said Missouri. “I get to remind Soldiers and Airmen that might be feeling stressed that what they’re doing is meaningful work, and it’s an opportunity to provide comfort for those in need.”“We’re here to offer support, clinical expertise, referrals and assessments to our service members, and we extend that support to their family members,” said Hinkson. “We’re here for you.”For more National Guard news: http://www.nationalguard.mil/National Guard Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNationalGuard/National Guard Twitter: https://twitter.com/usnationalguardHow the National Guard is helping: https://www.nationalguard.mil/coronavirus/Photos of the National Guard response: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/albums/72157713483827538Latest from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/U.S. response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/White House-CDC response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/