2021 Health Care Heroes: Volunteer spent six weeks in vaccine clinics 200 miles from home

Dave Skeels, a retired engineering consultant, volunteered at an Ascension St. Vincent vaccine clinic in Evansville for six weeks earlier this year. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Honoree, Pandemic 
Dave Skeels
Ascension St. Vincent

Dave Skeels, a 59-year-old retired engineering consultant from Indianapolis, spent six weeks this year volunteering in a vaccine clinic in Evansville, more than 200 miles from home.

Skeels lost three family members to respiratory diseases, likely COVID-19, last fall, and he wanted to find a way to help during the pandemic. His wife told him Ascension St. Vincent was looking for volunteers to work in clinics around the state, and the one in Evansville was most in need of volunteers at the time.

He packed up his car, booked an Airbnb and headed south. For six weeks, he spent 12 hours a day, seven days a week volunteering there. He clocked more than 450 hours of service, away from his home and family.

When he started in February, the atmosphere of vaccine recipients was mostly joyful, but by the time he packed his bags to head home in mid-April, some recipients were more reluctant about the vaccine.

Every person’s reason for getting the vaccine was different, but he was there as grandparents realized they’d finally be able to see their grandkids again and as widows took the vaccine in honor of their spouses who had died from COVID.

Those stories kept him going, he said.•

Read more Health Care Heroes profiles.

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