I have neglected this blog for 3months. Here I begin again.
We had our Annual Banquet on May 7th; and then beginning May 10th, we began a journey of helping seafarers get vaccinated. On May 7th I believe I said something about ‘moving heaven and earth’ to get seafarers vaccinated. To date there have been some challenges, but we have been able to facilitate 350 vaccinations. Some happened onboard ships and some at local pharmacies. What have I noticed about the seafarers when they find out they can get vaccinated against this evil virus? I notice relief. I see joy. I see photos being taken and thumbs up made. I see some pain and discomfort for about ½ of them in that first 24 hours. But, regardless, I know we are bathed in a sea of thanksgiving for helping. Credits to the Tampa team, to Chaplain Steve from Port Tampa, Chaplain Trish here, 4 different area pharmacies and especially the past few weeks to Dr. Ken Patel from Ellenton Discount Pharmacy for coming and climbing onboard ships for the first time in his life to help. Thanks also to intern Gavin Hill and volunteers Louise, Pam, Dennis, Michael, Bernie, Keith and Nancy for filling gaps so that we chaplains could drive or escort. I thank our board members for supporting us in this and especially the International Transport Workers Federation and Mr. Eric White for their valuable support. Many people are safer because these vaccines were made possible. Thanks be to God and to those in government who have moved this along to allow non-citizens of the US to be served, “Because they have served us.”