Ann Anderson

Ann Anderson, a retired teacher of Keene, found herself with extra time during the pandemic. “I couldn’t substitute teach because students were remote and I wasn’t willing to take the chance of going in,” Anderson said. She was looking for someway to help the community and to help get things back to normal.

When she saw something on Facebook posted by The Center for Population Health Department — part of Cheshire Medical Center — looking for volunteers to help at the Krif Road COVID-19 vaccination site in Keene, she signed up right away. After signing up, she went through a background check and then took a course online. Once she passed both of those, she was e-mailed shortly afterward and was asked to start volunteering in January. “I wanted to be a part of the solution — why not give my time, because I have it,” she explained.

Anderson had been a teacher for 36 years before retiring, and 26 of those years were spent at Cutler School. She said one of the more interesting and rewarding parts of her volunteer work at Krif Road was that some of her former students had become vaccinators. She said it was fun working with them, and seeing other former students of hers and their parents come in to get vaccinated. “There was fun in this, as well as it being rewarding,” she said.

As a volunteer, Anderson assisted the vaccinators and would help people set up their next appointment. She said she worked many nights past dinner time and was grateful for her supportive husband at home.

One of Anderson’s favorite parts of being a volunteer was being a part of the team, “The National Guard are amazing to work with. They are so friendly and so helpful. Tricia (Zahn) and Jane (Parayil) from the hospital were also so welcoming,” she said.

Another thing she was able to do as a volunteer was to help people make appointments. Many of the older folks in the beginning of the vaccination process had a hard time using the website to book their appointments and Anderson took it upon herself to help them by scheduling their appointments for them. She said she was getting phone calls directly, from people she had never met, asking her for help and she was more than happy to assist them.

“This is so worth it,” she said of her time volunteering and said everyone else who volunteered along with her at the site all had the same common goal: Helping to get things back to normal.