101st Airborne Helps Ship COVID Vaccines in Orlando


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Troops from the 101st Airborne Division dispense 3,000 doses per day at the FEMA vaccination facility on the Valencia West campus.

What you need to know

  • Troops from the 101st Airborne Division help administer COVID-19 vaccines on the FEMA site of the Valencia West campus
  • Around 3,000 are handed in on site every day
  • St. Cloud native Spc. Dakota Emrick says his assignment was challenging but rewarding

St. Cloud native Spc. Dakota Emrick is a graduate of Harmony High School. He says when he signed up for the U.S. Army it had never crossed his mind to work at a vaccination site during a pandemic to do a compulsory call.

Before people can get a vaccine, you can hear Dakota greet people from a mile away.

“Hello ma’am, how are you today?” he says.

When you walk to the FEMA vaccination site in Metro West, you have likely greeted Emrick.

Not only does he greet people, but he also engages them in casual conversations, asking about their day and making sure they have all the correct papers.

He works on the front lines and takes part in a mission that he takes seriously.

“I’d say at first that it was a little overwhelming to work with FEMA, the state and the Florida Department,” said Emrick. “We had no idea what to expect. We have taken the first steps and vaccinate many people every day. “

Tonight at 10am on @ MyNews13, meet one of the @USArmy @ 101stAASLTDIV who is used at the @fema vaccination center in @valenciacollege. Best of all, this hero is @ CityofStCloudFL native and @ HarmonyHighFL alum too! Thank you for your service! ????????

– Spectrum News Asher Wildman (@ AsherWildman13) March 11, 2021

Which is a flag waving experience for some.

“I’m with DAR (Daughters of American Revolution) and I’m really extremely patriotic,” said Sylvia Link after getting a vaccine on the FEMA website. “I am very grateful that you can help in this way.”

When Emrick doesn’t greet those who want a vaccine, the St. Cloud-American native is back at base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a heavy bike rider – better known as a truck driver. This task does not require heavy lifting.

“Ordinarily I would be the one delivering vaccines, definitely a different experience,” said Emrick from behind a mask. “I never thought I’d be in the US Army. This is definitely outside of our mission scope, but I enjoy it every day. “

Such are the people he takes the time with to begin the vaccination process

“They are such nice people,” said Carlos Perez and walked out of the vaccination tent. “Everyone was so friendly.”

This is a mission completed for Emrick and everyone else in the 101st Airborne Division.

Emrick also said he was from St. Cloud and could see his family and friends because he never thought we would have the opportunity to have an assignment in Orlando.


Janet Smith