‘My entire crew takes great pride in our work behind the scenes’

Fran Berard, Shift Coordinator, University of Vermont Medical Center
Landscape portrait of Fran Berard standing in a COVID19 vaccination clinic storage unit.

Early on in the pandemic, when there was no end in sight, the couriers at Green Mountain Messenger made sure ventilators got to desperately ill patients at University of Vermont Medical Center. Less than a year later, they began transporting the most hopeful cargo of all -- vaccines -- to the state’s largest vaccination clinic at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex. Since January 19, twice a day, five days per week, they’ve been delivering vaccines – safely, quickly and at precisely the right temperature.

“They run in all kinds of weather and traffic – and they are always on time,” says Kevin Smith, a pharmacist at UVM Medical Center, who is often the one to hand off the vaccines at the hospital’s loading dock for their 15-minute trip to the Expo. “They take their job very seriously,” he says of the courier service. “We’re really grateful for their partnership.”

For Matt Kozlowski, the company’s owner and CEO, the job is much more than transporting cargo. “People don’t think about how the vaccines get where they need to go, but my entire crew has taken a lot of pride in what we’ve done behind the scenes. We’re very thankful for the wonderful partnership. It’s really rewarding to be able to do our part helping our community.”

Fran Berard is another person who loves both helping people and driving. A courier shift coordinator at UVM Medical Center, she has also been playing a key role in the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Expo, ensuring that the site has all the equipment it needs on a daily basis.

Three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – Berard drives to the vaccine clinic at 8 a.m. With iPad in hand, she inventories the two supply storage areas and orders supplies: about 5,000 Band-Aids, 6,000 needles, 6,000 syringes and 60 containers of germicidal wipes every week.

After placing the order for the day, she returns to her office at UVM Medical Center and waits for the warehouse to fulfill it. Then it’s back into the van to pick up the order and off to the vaccine clinic to restock the shelves.

Berard also loves being a part of the effort to vaccinate people in our community. “I feel like this is so cool. I’m helping to support this important effort by the State of Vermont. And it feels really good to know they’re not going to run out of anything on my watch.

“I’m always aware that the patient could be my mom,” Berard says about her work in health care. “That’s what gets me in the car, motivated to deliver as quickly as I can.”

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