Regina Griego has been with the U.S. government for 24 years, 17 of which were at the U.S. Department of Energy. Beyond managing her day job as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Health and Safety Office of the Office of Environment, Heath, Safety, and Security, Griego has joined the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps, a team of medical and non-medical volunteers trained to respond to emergencies that impact public health.
“I’ve always been that person to reach out to the community in times of crisis,” Griego said. In March, she was looking to volunteer in her local school system – she has a daughter in high school and a son in college – she ran into the website for the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps. “I thought wow, this is the perfect fit. I signed up in March and went through the orientation. Once they found out I had a public health background they started having me do more,” she said.
Griego started volunteering on weekends and taking annual leave to support the Medical Reserve Corps call center, then moved into admin work to help keep them organized. “Then contract tracing came up and I immediately signed up for that,” Gina said. She has also started to go out to nursing homes to inspect and observe contract control procedures, working full days on weekends and part time during the week.Griego has been volunteering alongside retired military and police officers, psychologists, teachers, students, contractors, and other current and former federal employees. Volunteers are provided with full PPE, and Griego takes precautions to avoid bringing her work home with her, like showering and changing immediately upon arrival to her home. “My kids think it’s cool, and my boyfriend, while concerned about my wellbeing, is proud of me and my passion for public service,” she says, but beyond that she feels that the work has brought her perspective and closeness to her family.
“It makes me appreciate life more, and prioritize what’s important with respect to being kind to each other, respecting each other it has made us become closer,” Griego said. “It makes you realize how fragile life is too. You see how real this virus is when you’re dealing with it like this on the front lines. There’s so much opportunity to get involved.” She’s now contemplating running a drive to collect coloring books and crayons as a stress reliever and children’s activity through a local youth group.