Kentucky National Guard F.A.S.T. Team honored

Friday, a group of six members of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade were honored for their help to Sayre Christian Village in Lexington in November of 2020.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) –  There are some who have gone above and beyond to help during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Six of those men were honored Friday in a recognition ceremony at the Kentucky National Guard Boone Center Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort.

The team, all members of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade, was deployed in a Facility Assistance Support Team, or “F.A.S.T.” Team, in November of 2020 to help Sayre Christian Village’s Skilled Nursing Facility in Lexington. The team was one of five in the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade serving different facilities in Kentucky during that time.

According to Sayre Christian Village CEO Karen Venis, the facility experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 starting in October of 2020, reaching a breaking point with more than 100 people in the community testing positive for COVID-19 by mid-November.

“It was incredibly difficult,” said Venis, “I remember the day when I heard the F.A.S.T. Teams were going to be deployed to assist us in our time of need. And I can remember being overwhelmed with appreciation by this group here.”

According to Venis, the team was only deployed to Sayre Christian Village for two weeks, but opted to stay for an additional two weeks to continue to help. According to people in the community, the team not only helped with the community’s needs: they also formed lifelong friendships.

Paul Frederick, a former World War Two Marine veteran who lives at Sayre Christian Village, says he and the Guardsmen formed a close bond during their stay.

“I mean all of them, all of them were just as nice as they could be. You wouldn’t meet a nicer bunch of fellows in your life. I never heard them say a cross word to anyone or anybody,” said Frederick.

According to Command Sergeant Major Paul Rezac, who was in command of the team, connecting with the veterans in the community was particularly special.

“Just that instant connection you have with people in uniform, even though they served 40, 50 years prior to us being there, they felt that instant bond. And they could come up and visit with us. It seemed like there was never a disconnect,” said Command Sergeant Major Rezac.

He says he continues to share a close bond with Frederick.

“We would just sit at a table for hours and he’d bring down his World War Two pictures,” said Command Sergeant Major Rezac.

According to Venis, the F.A.S.T. Team helped with everything, including making sure people got their mail on time.

The members of the F.A.S.T. Team were awarded the “Guardian Angel Award” from people in the Sayre Christian Village community, as well as the LeadingAge Kentucky Distinguished Service Award.

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