Guard Spotlight: Michigan

Guard Distributes Water and Filters to Community Residents

Members of the Michigan Army National Guard have been on duty in Flint, Mich., distributing water to city residents, since Gov. Rick Snyder activated them on Jan. 13.

More than 70 Guard members are assigned to five water distribution sites at fire stations in Flint, and are helping distribute water and filters to residents in need.

A Michigan National Guard member provides water to a resident of Flint, which is enduring a drinking water crisis due to lead contamination of the city's water source. Photo by Michigan National Guard.

Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead after the city switched its supply source in 2014 from Lake Huron water treated by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to more corrosive and polluted Flint River water, treated at the Flint water treatment plant.

Said USA Today: “The switch was made as a cost-cutting move while the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. The state Department of Environmental Quality has acknowledged a mistake in failing to require the addition of needed corrosion-control chemicals to the water. That caused lead, which causes brain damage and other health problems in children, to leach into the water from pipes and fixtures.”

MG Gregory Vadnais, director for the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and Adjutant General of the Michigan Guard, said this is a great opportunity for the Guard to serve this community of nearly 100,000 people.

“One of the core functions of the Michigan Guard is providing assistance to the Governor, and we are trained and ready to assist.”

“Our mission is to assist with distribution at the fire stations and free up other support agencies to expand their operations,” said MAJ John Keelean, officer in charge of the Soldiers providing support.

If helping your community during its time of need is important to you, explore the National Guard job board and contact a recruiter today.

Original article by LTC William Humes, Michigan National Guard, with Steve Marshall of the National Guard Bureau contributing, appeared last month in the news section of

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