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Velarie Benally

Navajo Health Education Program

Health Education Technician - Chinle Service Area

HCOC Assignments: Receiving, Storing, and Staging (RSS) warehouse Assistant, Bahozho’ Telemedicine Tablet Project, Technical Assistant with Education and pod-site Home Deliveries Chinle Service Area

Velarie is from Chinle, AZ, home, site of the world-famous Canyon De Chelly. She has been with the Health Education Program for 11 months as a Health Education Technician in the Chinle Service Area. As a Health Education Technician, she delivers public health education to adults and students within the Chinle and Pinon communities. During the pandemic, she has had various Health Command Operations Center (HCOC) assignments to eradicate COVID-19 among the Navajo people.

Velarie's skills and talents are utilized in various areas, such as being a Receiving, Storing, and Staging (RSS) warehouse Assistant, Bahozho' Telemedicine Tablet Project team member, and a Technical Assistant – providing COVID-19 prevention education and Pod-site Home Deliveries.

At the RSS warehouse, Velarie assists with receiving, inventorying, and storing COVID-19 relief donations. Working at the warehouse requires lifting, sometimes heavy objects, which has helped build her endurance and strength. She also helps with distributing personal protective equipment to different programs and departments of the Navajo Nation. Valarie provides tablets to patients in the Bahozho’ Telemedicine Tablet Project, so healthcare providers can keep in contact with their patients who are at high risk of COVID-19.

Besides receiving donations and visiting patients, she offers encouragement to patients, letting them know they are of significant worth, and continuing to persevere and endure through these troubling times.

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“It can be heartbreaking to hear the cries and see the anguish of my People. So I have made it my mission to help them where and how I can, no matter how hard, challenging, and strenuous it can be, physically and mentally. I am doing this for my People."

Velarie

Velarie emphasizes the importance of getting tested for COVID-19 when they feel sick. She urges the public to monitor their symptoms and not hide their symptoms or be afraid to get tested. It is essential to take care of yourself and others, she added.

Velarie has significant commitment and determination to help on the frontlines. On the day she helps with the Bahozho’ Telemedicine Tablet Project, she packs PPEs, homecare equipment, tablets, and forms; she then jumps in her vehicle and visits up to four patients a day. The day she goes to the warehouse, she puts in a full day of mental and physical effort.

“Working on the front lines can be difficult, extremely stressful, and one can become sick from being overwhelmed. I have personally experienced these conditions. It is important to find a healthy way to cope and find an outlet to alleviate high-stress levels. Many health command staff experience burnouts, but we work to make sure our people are safe and prepared. We have to remind each other to relax, decompress, and recover during our free times.”

Velarie

Velarie expresses her appreciation to all frontline workers who work hard every day to stop the coronavirus spread. Ahe'hee.'

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