An emergency management professional from southern Midcoast Maine, Eric Sawyer, has received the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal for exemplary service to the nation as part of the federal medical response to the pandemic. Sawyer serves as a member of an Incident Management Team within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.

Eric Sawyer holding his COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal. Courtesy of Eric Sawyer

During the pandemic, the IMT responded to more than 1,800 missions to support nearly 50 states, territories and jurisdictions. Sawyer is one of approximately 90 IMT responders to receive the award for civilians who deployed for 30 consecutive or 60 cumulative days to provide medical care to state, territory, tribal and local partners.

“The pandemic strained our country’s health care system for almost three years,” Director for ASPR’s Division of Field Operations and Response Kevin Horahan said in a prepared release. “Mr. Sawyer and his IMT colleagues served as a lifeline to many health care facilities. This medal reflects his self-less commitment to meeting the public health and medical needs of the American people.”

ASPR’s IMTs identify and validate the prioritized needs of the communities affected by a disaster or public health emergency, coordinate resources to meet those needs, and manage all DHHS deployed field resources. For the pandemic, resources included thousands of tons of medical equipment and supplies and thousands of medical professionals who deployed from their own communities around the country to provide temporary relief to other health care staff, adding medical capacity and improving outcomes for COVID-19 patients.

During the pandemic response, IMT members oversaw the operational, safety, security, logistical, planning, finance and communications needs of thousands of clinical and non-clinical personnel from ASPR’s National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who deployed throughout the country to support overwhelmed hospitals struggling to respond to the pandemic.

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