LANCASTER, Pa. - Spc. Mariah Redwood, a combat medic assigned to Company C, 328th Brigade Support Battalion, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, never imagined she'd use her combat medic skills to administer vaccines to civilians. And in this case, not just anyone, but a close family member.
As Redwood prepared medical supplies on a mobile medical cart, her father stretched out his lanky frame on a folding chair nearby and rolled up a sleeve in preparation for his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A retired 21-year veteran of the Coast Guard, Michael Redwood was clearly brimming with pride.
"I think this is amazing. As a parent, you're hardly ever given the opportunity to witness your child at work, let alone something like this where they're working an Army mission," he said. "I think that's a pretty spectacular thing. I'm very proud."
His daughter is a petite 22-year-old with a shy demeanor and engaging smile. She attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until her love of medicine won out over her love of food. She decided to take a different career path with the military as a combat medic.
"I've always been so interested in science and the medical aspect of things," she said. "I really wanted to explore my options. Eventually, I want to work at Wellspan Health."
Mariah Redwood has been on state active duty orders since December, administering hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations.
"Recently, I was at a local gas station and someone there recognized me and told me I'd given them the COVID-19 vaccination," she said. "It was pretty cool. I love being able to help people and help my community. It's really fulfilling."
For Mariah Redwood, the importance of her job within the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as a combat medic cannot be understated.
"I'll definitely stay in this job skill within the military," she said. "I'm really committed because I worked really hard to graduate as a combat medic."
Mariah Redwood finished sterilizing her father's arm and administered the COVID-19 shot quickly and expertly.
"Wow, that was easy," said Michael Redwood." I didn't even feel it."
Father and daughter hug goodbye and Michael Redwood exits the vaccination area as Mariah Redwood tidies up her workspace for the next vaccination.