CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A Chambersburg man has deployed to Liberia to oversee a U.S. Public Health Service team combating Ebola.
CAPT Calvin Edwards has deployed to Liberia to oversee a U.S. Public Health Service team combating Ebola.
Calvin Edwards, 51, received recognition from President Barack Obama in a Wednesday afternoon speech about American health care workers fighting the outbreak. Obama’s remarks apparently referred to The Washington Post’s interview with Edwards as he prepared over the weekend to board a C-17 aircraft headed to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
“We read about how on his 29th wedding anniversary, carrying a pillow from home and a copy of the New Testament he takes on deployments, he left for training to oversee a team in Liberia … but before he did, he made sure to buy his wife a dozen roses,” Obama said, as quoted in a transcript of the speech.
The Washington Post quoted Edwards as saying he is respectful of Ebola, but not afraid of it.
“It doesn’t hop from person to person. It requires contact with bodily fluid,” he told The Post.
On a typical day, Edwards does food-safety inspections for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Harrisburg, Pa. However, he also is a member of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, one of the seven uniformed services. The Public Health Service is composed of health professionals overseen by the U.S. surgeon general. The nation does not currently have a surgeon general in place because the Senate has stalled on confirming the nominee submitted by Obama last year.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that Edwards is the officer in charge of the Monrovia Medical Unit. Sixty-five officers comprise the team that is caring for health care workers who become ill from Ebola. “The Commissioned Corps are trained and ready to respond to public health crises and humanitarian missions. The dedicated officers have the skills to make a significant impact in one of the international community’s most devastating public health emergencies,” Acting Surgeon General Rear Adm. Boris Lushniak said in a statement.
Ebola in West Africa has sickened more than 13,000 people and killed nearly 5,000 of them.
The Post reported Edwards, an amateur beekeeper, left for training in Alabama on Oct. 19. He has four children. “As he boarded the plane to Monrovia, Capt. Edwards reminded his team of their oath to defend our country, and they responded with a rousing rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ And they’re all there right now, making us proud,” Obama said in his speech.
Reprinted from Herald Mail Media