MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
Airman 1st Class Julianne Arnold is fighting COVID-19 one phone call at a time and a fateful phone call last month likely saved one woman’s life.
Arnold, a “port dawg” or air transportation specialist for the 167th Airlift Wing, has stayed busy since completing technical training last December. In addition to working in the passenger service center, she assists with student flight training. She also participated in the 2020 Patriot South exercise in March and then supported Operation Freedom Sentinel for four months.
In August, she volunteered to join the West Virginia National Guard’s epidemiology team, supporting the Jefferson County Health Department with its COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.
On October 15, Arnold made her daily call to an elderly woman she had been speaking to for several days. But that day, the woman seemed confused, in pain and then unresponsive during their call.
Arnold called 911. Emergency services made it to the woman’s home and she was transported to the nearest intensive care unit.
“I was so relieved,” said Arnold when she found out the woman had made it to the hospital. “I was a bit worried, because I was unable to reach any of the people in her household, so knowing she got the help she needed was a breath of relief.”
Arnold, who is studying to be a nurse, manages 10 to 20 cases a day conducting interviews, monitoring and discharging those under quarantine.
“I have definitely learned so much from this opportunity,” she said noting that on top of COVID-19 procedures and general pandemic information she has also learned to step up into a leadership position.
Arnold was recently moved to a team lead position overseeing a group of other West Virginia National Guardsmen serving as contact tracers, all of whom out rank her.
“Serving definitely gives me an amazing sense of pride and feeling of reward. I am grateful for the opportunities I've received to work for the state and country,” said Arnold.