April 30, 2021
(SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J)—Suzanne O’Rourke began helping her local community in South Brunswick, NJ after trying to secure vaccines for her family and friends. She then realized she wanted to help more people. “I began volunteering on the NJ Covid Vaccine Facebook page helping those who live in NJ secure appointments. Shortly after I realized it would be great to help my community.” O’Rourke posted on the South Brunswick Community Page and offered vaccine appointment services. Within the first two weeks, she was working a lot and needed more help.
O’Rourke has eleven volunteers called the Viking Vaccinators.
The Viking Vaccinators are determined to find appointments for anyone who needs them, even if it means losing sleep. “I equate it to when I had babies, my body has just gotten used to no sleep.” The team is motivated by the messages they receive from community members they helped who can now reunite with their family. “Suzanne is a person who has a big heart and puts others first,” said Lisa Bodnar, one of the recipients of O’Rourke’s help.
O’Rourke does not work in the health profession field but has been volunteering her entire life. “I was a vice president of a direct mail company prior to having twins where I was employed for 12+ years. After our twins were born I opened my own business in which I developed a local business directory website.” These skills helped her find appointments and build the Viking Vaccinators. Within twenty-four hours O’Rourke and her team can secure an appointment of their request for over 1,000 or more. “I reached out to Suzanne in the afternoon and got the appointment notice already same night, they are an amazing team,” said Margit Haas-Rethage, one of the recipients of O’Rourke’s help.
These Viking vaccinators have been able to secure bookings all over. “To name a few we have secured bookings at the following locations: Walgreens, Rite Aid, Wegmans, Princeton Church Alliance, Shoprite, Costco, Walmart, and CVS,” said O’Rourke.
Parikh Purvi works in a Walgreens pharmacy, the drug store chain is one of many O’Rourke is working with. “I do ten shots a day sometimes people get a skin rash, fever, or headache.”
O’Rourke and The Viking Vaccinators say they will continue to help as many people in the South Brunswick community until it’s easy for everyone to secure appointments on their own.