Soldier moves boxes of PPE with forklift.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Mathis, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Ohio Military Reserve Sgt. Michael Pursley operates a forklift to move personal protective equipment, or PPE, used to reduce exposure to biological hazards, including the coronavirus, April 14, 2020, at the Col. Robert Haubrich Armory in Columbus, Ohio. Members of the Ohio Military Reserve have been supporting the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Ohio Department of Health with the state’s collection of PPE donations, which includes medical gloves, surgical gowns, N95 respirator masks and face shields, for redistribution to health care personnel and others serving on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video by Spc. Max Elliott, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Ohio Military Reserve helping collect PPE, medical donations during COVID-19 pandemic

Story by Senior Airman Christi Richter,121st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (05/01/20)

Members of the Ohio Military Reserve are collecting and sorting masks and other medical donations at the Col. Robert Haubrich Armory, located on the city’s west side, to help aid with COVID-19 relief efforts.

“As of right now, we are receiving commodities from public and corporate donations of PPE (personal protective equipment),” said Sgt. Maj. Cliff Rittenhouse, the noncommissioned officer in charge of operations, plans and training for Ohio’s State Defense Force Command and a member of the Ohio Military Reserve. “Mostly we’ve been getting medical masks and gloves.”

Members of the Ohio Military Reserve (OHMR) are supporting the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Ohio Department of Health with the state’s collection of personal protective equipment by cleaning, sorting and checking the quality of items donated.

“We are behind the scenes,” Rittenhouse said. “Big and little donations from corporations are going far beyond what the public will see. Between respirators, masks, gloves and ventilator tubes, we are collecting life-saving tools.”

Businesses, organizations or individuals that would like to donate PPE should email together@governor.ohio.gov. Collected PPE is then distributed to those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, including health care professionals and first responders.

The OHMR is a component of Ohio’s state defense force and serves under the command of the adjutant general. It is based in Columbus and has approximately 220 members who may be called by the governor to aid civil authorities through providing medical and logistical support, as well as volunteer reception and management.

“Soldiers of the National Guard, military reserve and civilian workers are all working countless hours to support the mission,” Rittenhouse said. “We are truly all in this together and that is commendable beyond belief. Seeing Ohioans step up for Ohioans is truly amazing to see.”

Approximately 700 Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members are serving their fellow Ohioans through various missions, including collecting PPE, supporting food banks and providing medical and operational support at state correctional facilities.