?The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has changed the daily lives of millions of people around the world, as hundreds of thousands have been infected and thousands have died. But in addition to tragedy there has been hope — and heroism.
Across the United States, health care providers, first responders and military men and women are providing critical testing and care in an effort to help contain the deadly virus. One of these heroes is CSX’s Dan Myers.
Dan is an operational leader in the Northeast Region, serving as a trainmaster on the busy Old Main Line and Metropolitan subdivisions. He joined the U.S. National Guard 11 years ago for the education benefits and to prepare for a possible future in civil law enforcement. Recently, he was called back to active duty.
“I remember getting the call on March 15, which also was the third day of my vacation,” Dan said. “Now my day-to-day activities look a little different.”
He is currently serving on the frontlines at one of Maryland’s largest COVID-19 testing sites, FedEx Field in Landover.
“I have traded in my railroad personal protective equipment for a new kind of PPE,” Dan said. “My fellow Guardsmen and women are working with the Maryland State Health Department and Prince George’s County to help maintain security and safety around our COVID-19 testing site and helping medical professionals process hundreds of coronavirus tests as safely and securely as possible each day.”
From the moment he steps out of his hotel room until returns from his shifts at the testing site, he is wearing medical-grade gloves, a mask and a full-face shield. “The only place I don’t have to wear my PPE is when I return to the hotel,” he explained. “Our service men and women are present at the site to provide security and aid in safely processing community members at the staging site from about 10 hundred hours to 17 hundred hours, or sometimes later, each day. We really focus on trying to keep the symptomatic and asymptomatic community members at a safe distance and all of the medical supplies and equipment secure.”
Dan’s unit is currently broken into three teams that rotate shifts.
“My immediate team will be rotating to the third shift soon,” said Dan. “We were originally told the orders would be for 30 to 45 days, but due to the rate of the virus spreading, the orders have now been changed to indefinite.”
Despite the unknown, Dan maintains a bright spirit and thinks of his CSX railroad family often.
“I still feel connected and am reading the communications,” he said. “It cannot be emphasized enough how critical railroad transportation is during this time. We are struggling to find medical equipment such as masks and antibacterial items around the country to keep up with the demand in testing. None of this stuff would be available as rapidly as it is without the railroad.”
Dan emphasized how much appreciation he has for his fellow railroaders in helping keep the railroad running during unprecedented times.
Dan expressed, “Just like me, our railroaders are serving our country from the frontlines – helping to keep America’s supply chain moving. I have so much pride in the work of our teams across our 20,000-mile network, and I look forward to getting back to my team.”
Thank you, Dan, for your service to our country, and the unwavering pride you have in serving our railroad.