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Community Coverage Tour: Muleshoe Man of the Year

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 12:38 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - One man was instrumental in getting the COVID-19 vaccine clinic up and running in Muleshoe earlier this year. When the vaccine rollout began, Board President of the Bailey County Senior Center Royce Turner says seniors were not included in the first phase.

“We were back like a month behind the first ones. And we didn’t like that, so we talked to everybody we could and convinced them after two or three weeks that we should be up with the nursing homes, and everybody else,” he said.

So Turner worked with the local healthcare facilities to turn the senior center into a vaccine clinic.

“We looked at it and saw what we needed to do, and we got it started putting the doses out like the 21st or 22nd of January,” he said. “We got to put out nearly 2,000 doses in about a week’s time, and that’s over half the county.”

Muleshoe was the first county in the state to get complete coverage of adults of all ages. News spread fast, and Turner says people traveled from across the county just to get a vaccine there. They’ve given more than 6,000 shots in the county.

Turner says this fight against COVID-19 became personal. Not only did the senior center have to close in late October, Turner and his wife caught the virus.

“Eight days after she got it, she died. Easy death. It wasn’t really anything bad. She just got tired one day and quit breathing,” he said. “It was tough, but probably the best thing to happen because she didn’t suffer from it at all.”

Turner recovered in about a month, and the senior center held its grand reopening in March. He says he’s proud of the work they did in getting much of the county inoculated.

“We had the administrator of the hospital and Dr. Purdy’s office and his people,” he said. “They’ve done a great job of helping us get everybody vaccinated and everybody happy. We’re lucky. We’ve got a good county here.”

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