By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) – A Maple Grove man is home after spending two weeks in California helping American citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan, China.

Fire Marshall Greg Bodin was at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego with members of the Minnesota’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).

Bodin and his team of medical professionals set up field hospitals to assess and treat those evacuated from the city that was ground zero for the coronavirus.

“You practice, you prepare, but here we were actually performing,” Bodin said.

Bodin is not only a fire marshal for Robbinsdale, he is also a firefighter in Maple Grove and a chaplain for North Memorial Medical Center.

Bodin says years of training paid off when he was activated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to work with American citizens evacuated from Wuhan.

“My particular team provided screening and medical support for the evacuees who landed in San Diego at Miramar,” Bodin said.

Two planes transporting evacuees landed at Miramar on Feb. 5 and 7, where 232 passengers were greeted by Bodin and his crew of medical professionals.

They were dressed to protect themselves and others from further spread of the coronavirus.

“Tyvek suits, N-95 mask, gloves face protection,” Bodin said.

For 14 days, dressed in full protective gear, Bodin and the DMAT crew cared for and isolated anyone who showed symptoms of the virus.

The work was intense, but Bodin was able to show his compassion and use his skills as a chaplain to aid and comfort the evacuees and his team.

Bodin and his crew were closely monitored, but there were times his personal safety was on his mind.

“We had to be concerned about it, but we did a lot of training. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) again guided us on personal protective equipment, it crosses your mind and you have to be mindful of it,” Bodin said.

Bodin says the best part of the job was getting to know his “guests.”

Offering support to those dealing with uncertainty was an honor.

He says it’s work you have to have a heart to do.

This is not Bodin’s first trip working with the Disaster Medical Assistance Team. He served during 911, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

But he says this one was historic. This is the first time the U.S. has had a quarantine for medical reasons since 1961.

Reg Chapman