DETROIT, Mich. – Plans are made to be broken; at least they were for one Soldier.Sgt. Quintin Shine planned to get out of the Army National Guard when his enlistment was over. Then a pandemic rocked the nation and he decided to extend so he could help his community by continuing to serve.“With everything going on with COVID-19, I realized that it was good for me to continue to be in the fight,” said Shine. “I saw everything that was going on, and I wanted to give back as much as I could.”Shine is a noncommissioned officer with Assembly Area Lions and is assigned to the tactical operations center for the Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, which is a hotel they have commissioned for the Guard. By doing this, he is helping the other Guard members who are assisting Michiganders.“Every job is important. Every job is essential to helping our state get back to where it needs to be. Not just our state, but our country,” said Shine. “So the opportunity to help Soldiers reach their mission destination and allowing them to get peace of mind is what we have here. It’s a way for them not to worry about the other things. Someone has to give them a sense of relaxation with all the chaos that’s going on.”Shine, who has been in for six years, extended for another year to assist the fellow Soldiers.Shine grew up with a strong sense of duty to his family and the desire to serve. He joined in college at Michigan State University to help his mother out of debt.“After I joined the military, I had an even greater sense of pride. It became a part of me and my identity, in a sense. I always had a moral compass, which pointed to doing the right thing, and the military fed that moral compass completely,” he said.This year, after being on duty for three weeks, Shine got a day of leave to go home and visit his girlfriend, who is an essential worker. She didn’t know it, but she had already come into contact with someone who had the coronavirus. Both of them ended up contracting it.“Before I even tested for the virus, I self-quarantined myself,” said Shine. “I think that was a huge step in stopping any transmission, and by doing so, it allowed other Soldiers to stay in the fight.”Shine was able to identify that his body was ‘off.’ He was weak with a slightly elevated temperature. So he quarantined himself in his room for a few days before his leadership decided to let him go home and help his girlfriend, who had much stronger symptoms.“Her experience was a lot different than mine. I took mine with kind of a smile, but hers was filled with tears, so it’s different for each and every individual as it was more painful for her than for me.”Shine’s girlfriend was never put on a ventilator, but she did go to the hospital briefly because she had a lot of trouble breathing. He was constantly waking up in the middle of the night to make sure she was still breathing. By this time, he was fine, but he had other worries.“I think that was the most concerning aspect about it, because we’re always taught to be strong as Soldiers,” said Shine. “When you see someone else going through it, it becomes a lot harder, so my sympathy goes out to anyone who has family members who are going through it.“You may be strong, but you never know if that person is going to be OK,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you have more understanding, and you have more awareness that this could happen to anybody.”During this time, Shine was in contact with a friend whose sister had come down with the virus early on and had recovered to a point, if not 100 percent. The friend was able to give him some advice on what his sister had learned from being ill with COVID-19.“We were always taught that you’ve got to stay strong and fight. We want to maintain that strength, but things happen. Sometimes it’s out of your control. Sometimes it’s the little things you want that you don’t think about that will get you.”While Shine and his girlfriend are now fine, they know how easy it is to contract the virus and do not take for granted the protections in place to help stop the spread, because they do not know how many strands there are.“At the end of the day, it was not about protecting myself, it truly was about protecting other people by separating myself, and that’s what I joined the military for, was to protect,” said Shine.Related LinksU.S. Army COVID-19 GuidanceArmy.mil: Worldwide NewsArmy.mil: SoldiersFor more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard TwitterHow the National Guard is helpingPhotos of the National Guard responseLatest from the CDCU.S. responseWhite House-CDC response