Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps to Host 20th Anniversary Celebration

April 16, 2024
Media Contact:
Kristina K. Morris, Volunteer Coordinator,, 276-274-0555

Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps to Host 20th Anniversary Celebration

ABINGDON, Va. – The Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (SWVA MCR) will host a 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday, April 27 from 2 – 4 p.m. The event will be held at the K-VA-T Corporate Support Center, 1 Food City Circle in Abingdon. A program highlighting the service of volunteers throughout its 20-year history, including the presentation of service awards, will begin at 3 p.m. All former and current volunteers are invited to attend the event. The anniversary festivities will also serve to commemorate National Volunteer Week held April 21-27.

“Volunteers are the heart of all service,” said Kristina K. Morris, Southwest MRC unit coordinator. “The Medical Reserve Corps is truly grateful for their dedication, array of talents and time spent serving those not only here at home, but in other communities nationwide as many helping hands are needed during times of crisis.”

The local volunteer organization, one of 800 units throughout the nation, is comprised of health care professionals and community members committed to supporting public health in Southwest Virginia. Nearly a dozen volunteers, who started with the SWVA MRC when it began in 2004, continue to remain active. “We’ve had such incredible support from our dedicated volunteers over the past 20 years,” according to Virginia’s State MRC Volunteer Coordinator Michael Magner. “The SWVA team has always been fully engaged in carrying out disaster and public health preparedness and response activities at a moment’s notice.”

Some of the group’s most extensive work began in March 2020 when they were asked to assist with the evolving necessities involved with the COVID-19 pandemic. This work continued through 2023.

With fatal drug overdoses being the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia for the past 12 years, the SWVA MRC have been instrumental in providing REVIVE! training, the Commonwealth’s statewide opioid overdose and naloxone education program. Through this vital program, community members learn how to recognize signs of an opioid overdose and how to respond using naloxone. The unit has also received recognition for their on-going participation in the annual Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Drug Take Back initiative, consisting of temporary collection sites where residents can dispose of expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs to help reduce accidental or intentional overdoses or illegal abuse.

Over the past two decades, hundreds of volunteers have participated in crucial activities involving various emergency situations ranging from the first call to duty in Carroll County where hundreds of dogs were rescued during a puppy mill bust to integral operations required in response to the 2009 novel influenza A (H1N1) virus.

In 2011, SWVA MRC volunteers came to the aid of those in Washington County when an EF3 tornado sliced a path 20 miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide near Interstate I-81 which claimed the lives of three victims.

Besides offering needed assistance within its local communities, the SWVA MRC has been instrumental in responding to nationwide catastrophes, including the deployment of three volunteers to Louisiana to assist in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.