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On the Front Lines: The National Guard’s COVID-19 response across Nevada |

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On the Front Lines: The National Guard’s COVID-19 response across Nevada

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An 8 News Now viewer reached out to say how much he appreciated the National Guard. You may have seen soldiers if you've been to COVID-19 test sites throughout the valley. 

This Thanksgiving eve, 8 News Now introduces you to a group many of you are likely thankful for. 

Nevada is home for these National Guardsmen.  

For Sergeant Thomas Jacobellis, the call for duty came in April to provide help during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We're neighbors helping neighbors,” Sgt. Thomas Jacobellis said. “This is a very unique deployment.  I've been to Afghanistan. That was much different because I was away from family.” 

Sgt. Jacobellis is at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas where testing is offered. While he is grateful he is home, he also acknowledges the risk of being on the front lines. 

 “Honestly, the hardest part is I don't want to get sick and get someone in my family sick,” Sgt. Jacobellis said. “That's the hardest part for me personally, but again, just the reassurance of your fellow soldiers as well as your family at night. It makes it a lot of difference than just relying on a letter coming in the mail every month.” 

 This is the largest call up of the National Guard in the state's history. 

 “I've told our soldiers and airmen is that they are part of history in their response to this pandemic,” said Colonel Troy Armstrong. 

 “It's hard to prepare for something that no one is ready for so everything is constantly changing, constantly evolving everyday,” added Staff Sgt. Ivan Navarro. 

They say news of a vaccine boosted morale during this mission, showing light at the end of the tunnel for all of us. 

Col. Armstrong says the call started with more than 1,100 soldiers and airmen. That number has reduced to more than 400 — about half up north, and half here in Southern Nevada.