Mike and I got our second COVID shot about a month ago, so we have spent the last two weeks touring Ohio and checking out all the different vaccination sites.
Instead of just having a few mass vaccination sites as some states have done, we have sites in every county. It has been really fun to see how each county is doing it. The first one I visited was in Clark County, put on by the health department. They are using the old JCPenney store at Upper Valley Mall. It was big and spacious and very efficient. Mike and I walked around and talked to some of the people who were getting their shots. Everyone was so happy! They told us stories of how long it had been since they had seen their grandbabies or their parents and grandparents, and they just couldn’t wait for those hugs. As they left they couldn’t believe that they were in and out in about half an hour! We were so impressed to see all the volunteers; many were retired doctors and nurses. I took a basket of my buckeye brownies as a small thank you to the volunteers, as well as a gift for many of the people who came in to get their shots. It was wonderful just to be in a place where everyone was happy!
On Saturday we visited Greenville, Findlay College, Toledo, and Marysville. Each one was very efficient and unique. I especially loved the one in Marysville, held at the Union County Fairgrounds. It was a drive-through for teachers that day; they drove though the chicken barn and never had to get out of their car!
On Tuesday we visited Ohio’s first mega-site in Cleveland at Cleveland State University. This site is a FEMA site and it was staffed by many of Ohio’s National Guard members as well as Army members from Fort Campbell, Ky. They were just getting ramped up on that first day, but now they are vaccinating about 6,000 people per day!
We also visited Bethesda Temple in Harrison Township in north Dayton, and we visited an elderly housing apartment building in Cincinnati where residents were being vaccinated. Some elderly people were bused in and then vaccinated right on the bus! We also saw huge numbers of shots given at the Cintas Center at Xavier University. Mike actually did his press conference from there, with Anthony Munoz as a guest. Mike played the ad that Anthony did urging everyone to be vaccinated. It was fun to watch Anthony talk about the importance of getting the shot. He cut one version of the ad in Spanish and one in English.
In Portsmouth they were doing a drive-through on the street next to the city building. In Chillicothe, the health department was giving shots at their Ohio University campus. In Shelby, the city’s health department was administering the shots at the senior center. Because Shelby is not a large town, volunteers and employees were just making calls to help everyone sign up to get their shots. Mike also visited the very impressive site at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
On our way back from Cleveland we picked up our dog, Dolly, who had been staying with our daughter Jill’s family while we were on the road. Mike lamented that we had really missed me making him a pie on Pi Day. But when we got to Jill’s house, she had made him a pie — a beautiful and very simple-to-make apple pie from a recipe her neighbor, Peggy, gave her. It was delicious, with none of the fuss of making a crust. It’s so good and easy I’m adding it to my favorites!
Earlier this week we visited a recreation center in Youngstown where shots were being given, and today we are off to the Canton-Akron area to check out more sites. Every place we go is just a little bit different, but every site has incredible health care workers and volunteers. Even though many of these workers are really tired from working so hard for this entire year, they press on with great joy knowing that if we just keep going a little longer, we can end this terrible pandemic. There is nothing more moving than seeing the joy in each person as they get their shot and talk about how now they can get back to seeing and hugging their loved ones! Mike and I came home with renewed joy and energy. Now we just have to help everyone get their shot. And I’d better make some more buckeye brownies for our next trip!
Peggy’s Swedish Apple Pie
Fill pie pan 2/3 full of apple slices (like Golden Delicious).
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a separate bowl combine:
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
Spread batter over apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.