Oregon Army National Guard members load packages of protective masks into vehicles of agricultural workers at the SnowCap Food pantry in Portland, Ore. The distribution was a part of a collaboration between the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon University Extension, and the Oregon National Guard during the COVID-19 Pandemic. May 28, 2020. (Oregon Military Department Public Affairs photo by Aaron Perkins)

SALEM, Ore. – Members of the Oregon Army National Guard worked with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon State University Extension program to complete the delivery and distribution of approximately 915,000 face coverings, today. The face coverings as well as hand sanitizer were delivered throughout the state to local farm managers and agricultural producers for distribution to agriculture and seasonal, migrant workers during the harvest season.

Guard members transported face coverings and hand sanitizer to seven hubs throughout the state. From these hubs, Citizen-Soldiers worked to sort, load and deliver the face coverings and hand sanitizer to 21 separate locations for distribution in 36 counties and over 38,500 farms in Oregon.

“A lot of us joined the guard to serve our community,” Sergeant First Class Dugald Campbell, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Salem County Assistance Team stated. “When we have opportunities to help our community and state, it is fulfilling and rewarding.”

Determining distribution sites throughout the state also involved significant collaboration from the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Emergency Management, Oregon State Fairgrounds, and various other county fairgrounds.

“A lot of people came together to say yes, we can do this,” said Mark Chien, Administrative Office Manager for the OSU Marion County Extension. “Similar to the Guard, OSU Extension is represented in every county in Oregon. When we get partners like these together, it makes for excellent teamwork.”

The collaborative effort has taken place under the direction of Gov. Kate Brown to support essential agriculture and seasonal workers, ensuring their safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19.

“At the end of the day, our agricultural workers and farm managers are operating is safer conditions,” added Chien.

Since March, the Oregon National Guard has mobilized over 200 Guard members to help support the COVID-19 response. Guard members have assisted with the logistics, delivery, and distribution of millions of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) throughout the state of Oregon to include all counties, tribes, multiple long term care facilities, and agricultural workers.

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