BUFFALO, N.Y. – With the help of the New York National Guard, more than 10,000 residents of Western New York have been tested for the COVID-19 virus and its antibodies since April 29.The Guard members supporting the test sites are accustomed to disaster response missions, but the coronavirus mission has many of them working outside their traditional roles.As a mechanic for Delta Company, 427th Brigade Support Battalion, Spc. Matthew Porter is used to life in a motor pool, handling generators and tools. Instead, at a COVID-19 antibody test site, he has his hands on paperwork and iPads.“This is a very clean, controlled environment,” Porter explained. “A lot less grease.”Since May 3, Porter has been assigned to the SUNY Erie Community College gymnasium in Williamsville. It is one of five sites statewide where more than 5,000 antibody tests have been conducted.The gym’s open courts make an ideal setting for social distancing. Soldiers and medical staff from the New York State Department of Health direct the flow of visitors and keep them six feet apart.When the site opened, members of the New York State Police were tested the first few days. Testing has since expanded to other state agencies and employees of local grocery stores.Each person is greeted at the door by a Guard member who gives an overview of the process: an explanation of testing and collection of personal information, data entry into an iPad and, finally, a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick – just enough to cover a small circle on a sample strip.Guard members like Porter handle the first two steps, collecting and entering data. Even though it’s not the type of job he’s used to, Porter has been willing to adapt and proud to support the mission.“We were established to help fellow citizens and help each other. If we’re not doing this, we don’t succeed in our mission,” Porter said.Three other testing sites are operating in Western New York.In large parking lots in downtown Buffalo, at Monroe Community College in Rochester, and at Niagara Community College in Sanborn, residents navigate their vehicles through lanes of traffic cones to large tents where civilian nurses conduct nasal swab tests for COVID-19. These are just three of 15 drive-through test sites across the state supported by members of the New York National Guard.Between the entry point and the tent, Soldiers and Airmen paired up with civilian support staff communicate with the residents. Through closed windows they confirm appointments, check for first responder status, and collect information for the screening process.Pvt. Matthew Klug of Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment works the lanes. As an infantryman in a cavalry unit, he is trained to find and fight an enemy he can see. On this mission, he’s helping detect and counter an invisible foe.“I joined the National Guard to serve, mainly because I have a son,” Klug explained. “He’s about to be 2 this year, in June. I wanted to have him look up to his father one day and say, ‘Hey, my dad served. My dad helped out. He made a difference.’”Klug and Porter are three of the more than 3,500 members of the New York National Guard on duty in response to COVID-19, and part of a nationwide force of almost 46,000 National Guard members helping combat the spread of the coronavirus.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/