LAS VEGAS – Nevada National Guard Sgt. John Huss went above and beyond with Joint Task Force 17 by personally helping organize and distribute extra vaccine doses at the Cashman Center.
“I like to help people,” said Huss, with the 72nd Military Police Company and soon to be Mineral County sheriff cadet. “I enjoy seeing the positive changes made while serving the public.”
Huss has been serving his country and community with the Nevada Army National Guard since 2011. It’s been a long road for this Soldier since Fort Leonard Wood, where he graduated with the Military Police School. He’s been helping his community with the COVID-19 outbreak since July.
Huss is one of over 280 Soldiers serving on orders for JTF17. What made him stand out is when he decided to take charge in creating a more efficient process for people on the COVID-19 vaccine standby list.
“It all started with a Facebook group (Las Vegas Vaccine Hunters),” Huss said. “At the beginning, it was a challenge because everything was so new, but our goal from the start was to be better organized.”
After seeing the challenges facing his team with the standby list, Huss took charge and began to work with his chain of command. He identified areas of concern based upon social media intelligence, sat down with his leadership and developed a proactive approach to reduce wait times.
“At first, the waitlist was on the fly and was comprised of just a list of names,” Huss said. “I saw this and thought, 'How can we make this better?' We began to prioritize the list based upon the Southern Nevada Health District's age guidelines and began to really engage with people on a personal level when they would arrive.”
“I’m genuinely amazed how he’s taken on this responsibility,” said 2nd Lt. Samirah Furman, the officer in charge at the site. “He’s adapted to numerous challenges and he’s overcome every obstacle put in his path and turned them into success.”
Mark Smith, a member of the Facebook group, praised Huss on the site.
“I especially want to call your attention to Sgt. Huss, who is assigned to the Cashman vaccination facility,” Smith wrote. “He has helped provide a community service with a professionalism in his work to ensure that every possible dose is administered. He manages the process and openly communicates in a clear and precise manner, answering every single question of a crowd over 100 people every morning.”
Huss didn’t stop at helping organize the standby list. When people showed up in the morning, he took a personal interest and interacted with them as they waited for information. Instead of just getting on the list and coming back later in the day, his team would assist with real-time dose availability, walking the public through creating an appointment and getting them in the door for vaccinations.
“My team is the first set of people you will meet when you come to Cashman,” Huss said. “It’s about customer service. The smaller amount of people I have on the list means we’re getting more people in the door and vaccinated. The day we get rid of the list, that’s a good day because it means everyone’s getting in.”
Clark County hit 719,000 doses administered as of March 17, up from 500,000 just a short time ago, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. It was also reported that Nevada had the ninth-highest utilization rate in the nation, using 91% of its allocated vaccines compared to the national average of 85%.