GARY, INDIANA – During a morale visit to the Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at the former Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana, U.S. Army Brigadier General Robert E. Suter, Joint Force Land Component Commander (JFLCC) All-Hazards Surgeon, was graciously greeted by Gary, Indiana native, and vaccine recipient, Cynthia Polk upon his arrival, May 6.
Polk, born and raised in Gary, has worked at the arrival center for 21 years and is the Fixed Base Operator Director for the site. Her job is to make sure persons that arrive on her flight line are welcomed and provide information on the city when needed. On this day, while completing her duties, Polk greeted Suter and began her conversation.
“While I was talking with the colonel [U.S. Army Col. Ellen Shannon-Ball] she shared with me that they are at the Roosevelt site,” Polk said. “I told her that’s where I got my vaccine, it was great and I’ve been telling everyone to go there and get theirs.”
Polk shared that she was very impressed with the site and how it was organized and ran.
“I think the site is so amazing,” Polk said. “I was able to go to the site, be welcomed by people who don’t live in the city or know anything about Gary. Their personalities were so welcoming from every person saying how you are today at each tent, to them saying have a nice day. It was really encouraging to see.”
Being a proud member of the city of Gary community, Polk is so proud to see her alma mater, Roosevelt High School, being used for such a great cause for her community.
“It makes me feel so proud,” Polk said. “Gary Roosevelt was a very historic school. It has so much history. While I was getting my second shot, I spoke to one of the reservist there. I saw a Kansas license plate and asked are people coming from out of town to get vaccinated? He told me yes. He said ‘we’ve seen Pennsylvania, Florida, California and places all over just to get the vaccination. People brag about how nice the site is and how well it’s run and I agree. During my first shot it took no more than five minutes to complete the process.”
Polk said that Gary used to be known for its steel production and is the crossroads for America for travel. She believes the signs the city has placed on the highway drives out of state persons to the Gary CVC site.
“There are so many memories at Gary Roosevelt,” Polk said. “I grew up in that neighborhood. My mother graduated from there. I graduated from there. The site being used for this purpose warms my heart because it’s so historical. Being in the middle of Gary and near the crossroads of 80 94 (interstates) America highways, the vaccine center is perfectly placed.”
Polk had one more plea for those in the Gary Indiana area.
“If we as individuals, citizens of the United States, would like to get back to normal, vaccinations are the way back to normal,” Polk said. “Come to the Gary Roosevelt High School vaccination site, and receive your vaccine.”