Rick Reinhardsen, a longtime volunteer with The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division, has weathered a lot of storms in his 52 years on Martha’s Vineyard and as a former Sea Captain in the U.S. Merchant Marine; however, he’s never encountered turmoil like this. Unlike the hurricanes, winter storms, or Nor’easters that Reinhardsen has responded to, the coronavirus’ next point of impact is unpredictable because it is invisible, yet its impact is fierce.
With nine cases confirmed on the island as of April 1, 2020,and seasonal residents returning earlier than usual to escape hard-hit areas, islanders are preparing for a possible surge in Covid-19 cases. To brace for the worst, regional emergency management leaders on the island, including Rick, meet weekly to assess the community’s needs.
“We do what needs to be done,” said Reinhardsen. “Because of my years of experience helping the island and other communities in need, it’s second nature for me to jump in to help.”
Reinhardsen is currently working virtually from his West Tisbury home as the head of logistics for The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division’s IMAT (Incident Management Assistance Team) for COVID-19.
“Rick brings the perfect expertise and dedication with his warehouse and logistics experience,” said Chris Farrand, The Salvation Army’s Regional Emergency Disaster Service Director.
In addition to ensuring that The Salvation Army’s Service Extension Unit partners on Martha’s Vineyard have the necessary essential supplies, Rick is in charge of ordering food and other essential items for theirstatewide feeding and COVID-19 response. This week, he was also asked to support the Island Emergency Managers with their supply logistics.
“Before we started The Salvation Army’s Service Extension Unit on Martha’s Vineyard fifteen years ago, we didn’t have a presence out here,” Reinhardsen explained. “Today I have more than a dozen volunteers who I can call to help if we respond to a fire, disaster, or need help bell ringing during the holidays or connecting a neighbor with social services.”
Under Reinhardsen’s direction, The Salvation Army is well-known across every town on the island. Rick is the face of The Salvation Army on Martha’s Vineyard. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Reinhardsen and The Salvation Army have already seen an uptick in calls for rental, feeding, and other assistance. They anticipate that the number of requests will only continue to grow.
“The Salvation Army is there for the communities we serve before, during, and after disaster strikes…and we will be there to help them long after this storm passes.”
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