COVID-19: Counting the Cost

USCS Accounting Intern Brett Hopkins serving in New Jersey’s COVID-19 response. 

As an Accounting Intern at USCS’ Camden, NJ, head office, Brett Hopkins’ job involves counting the cost. And now—during the nation’s coronavirus pandemic—you could say that Hopkins and USCS are counting the costs in other ways. 

First, here’s a quick back story. Hopkins is a full-time undergraduate studying finance at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. After part-time work at a bank, Hopkins joined USCS’s internship program last October. Since 2016, he also has served in New Jersey’s Air National Guard as an Aircraft Armament Systems Mechanic (loading munitions on F-16 planes and fixing munitions equipment). 

As states nationwide mobilized to the coronavirus pandemic this spring, many called up national guardsmen to respond in various roles. Starting on April 8, Hopkins’ Air National Guard unit was assigned to Atlantic City, NJ. Specifically, guardsmen constructed a full-service hospital with more than 250 makeshift hospital rooms inside the Atlantic City Convention Center. Each night, Hopkins and others quarantined in a local Atlantic City hotel to avoid spreading the infection to family members.

More recently, Hopkins and others maintain site security. They control doorways where medical staffers take someone’s temperature before entry. 

“It’s been long and tiring,” Hopkins tells USCS. “We began our time with 60-hour weeks and now we’re at about 50. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard either. It’s just somewhere in between. I always say, ‘It is what it is.’ That gets me through my day and avoids stress.” 

He adds, “We’re hoping to an ‘end of orders’ sooner than later because that would mean things are getting better and we can all go back to our lives. Even so, it’s also incredibly rewarding to know that in a challenging time for our state and our country I’m able to help—even if it’s in a small way. That’s why I joined.” 

#BestinCold #BestinPeople #NJNationalGuard

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