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Guard family channels service experience during COVID-19

Sarah Babcock, Hartford Hospital critical care nurse, wears personal protective equipment to treat COVID-19 patients with the hospital’s intensive care unit float team. Sarah’s husband, Senior Master Sgt. Dana Babcock is the 103rd Operations Group aircrew flight equipment noncommissioned officer in charge. The Babcock family is channeling previous deployment experiences to adapt to Dana teleworking and taking care of their children while Sarah now serves on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo)

Sarah Babcock, Hartford Hospital critical care nurse, wears personal protective equipment to treat COVID-19 patients with the hospital’s intensive care unit float team. Sarah’s husband, Senior Master Sgt. Dana Babcock is the 103rd Operations Group aircrew flight equipment noncommissioned officer in charge. The Babcock family is channeling previous deployment experiences to adapt to Dana teleworking and taking care of their children while Sarah now serves on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. --

When National Guard members are called to duty, spouses often take care of the home front. But what happens when the spouse is called to service?

Senior Master Sgt. Dana Babcock, 103rd Operations Group Aircrew Flight Equipment NCOIC, is a full-time member of the Connecticut Air National Guard, which is continually supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Due to guidance and increased social distancing measures, Dana is currently teleworking during the pandemic. His wife, Sarah, however, is on the front lines battling the virus.

“I work as a critical care nurse at Hartford Hospital on the ICU float team, meaning I can be assigned to work in any of the six ICU's, their associated step down units, and anywhere else in the hospital where critically ill patients are located,” said Sarah. “My position requires me to always be on my toes, be flexible, maintain calm and never stop critically thinking. It's fast paced and challenging but I love it.”

The Babcock family roles have seemingly reversed during the pandemic, said Sarah.

“We've been through two deployments since we've been married and while Dana was gone, I was the one who kept things running at home and raising our family,” she said. “I was the one consistently worried about his safety. Now, it feels like the opposite is happening.”

This prior experience has helped the family cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19, said Sarah.

“We've had to learn how to be fluid and flexible as partners and as parents to keep things as normal as possible for our children during this pandemic,” she said. “I am so grateful to have a husband who understands what it is to serve.”

Dana’s aircrew flight equipment experience has also helped Sarah protect their family from possible exposure.

“He built me a decontamination tent on my front porch, which gives me a place to keep my soiled clothes and sneakers until I can wash them,” said Sarah. “My decontamination tent was created based on the aircrew contamination control area used in the chemical warfare exercises at the base. It was so cool to see how he was able to translate his expertise from the guard into something that also helped me”

The Connecticut National Guard continues to support front line healthcare workers like Sarah, providing medical supplies, equipment, and personal protective items to the state’s health care system.