A hundred days ago, nuclear worker, Larry Reeder, received a huge opportunity to experience the presidential inauguration firsthand. The health physics technician at Crystal River Nuclear Plant in Fla. deployed for six days to Washington D.C. in January as part of a Disaster Medical Assistance Team when the president took the oath of office.
The National Disaster Medical System deploys various rapid-response teams to provide medical care during disasters or other large-scale events. These teams supplement hospital staff, relieve overtaxed emergency departments and even provide veterinary services to federal work animals, among other services.
Reeder served as a safety officer on his team and fitted hundreds of field personnel with respirators, which are required for these events. His nuclear health physics training made him uniquely qualified for this role. In his 26 years at Duke Energy, he’s donned protective clothing to enter the radiation controlled area and worn a respirator countless times when working inside the plant. He also worked with a National Disaster Medical System director to review processes and procedures. Reeder even has special respiratory protection training from the Center for Domestic Preparedness.
This was Reeder’s first presidential inauguration. Though he didn’t get to meet the president or any other elected officials, the experience was extraordinary. “One of the amazing things to witness is the amount of personnel and resources needed for an event like this,” he said. “It is staggering, and I only saw a small portion of it. The best part was interacting with many of the team members I have worked with over the years and networking with people from all over the country.”
In a letter to Duke Energy, Ron Miller, acting director of the National Disaster Medical System, called Reeder’s contribution “exemplary” and thanked Duke Energy for supporting Reeder’s deployment. “Your commitment to support your employee’s efforts is a tribute to your leadership and the character of Duke Energy,” the letter stated.