AMU Graduate Provides Relief from Coronavirus Shortages

AMU Graduate Provides Relief from Coronavirus Shortages

AMU Graduate Provides Relief from Coronavirus Shortages

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By Laurel Holland
Guest Contributor, In Military

Kevin Dougherty (front center), puts his supply chain logistics to work serving veterans every month, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. (2018 photo)

During the current coronavirus pandemic, relief has come in many forms from small gestures to massive aid efforts. One of those people providing relief is Navy Seabee veteran Kevin Dougherty, who received a bachelor’s degree in transportation and logistics management in 2015 and a master’s degree in transportation and logistics in 2018, both from American Military University.

Kevin puts his leadership and supply chain management skills to work serving veterans every month. He is responsible for the Free Produce Market for veterans and service members at the Veterans Administration hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. This market is a partnership between the hospital and the Greater Boston Food Bank.

The market began as a small indoor pantry, serving 130 veteran families in 2017. Under Kevin’s management, it was transformed into a scalable, drive-up market in January of 2019 that now has over 2,000 veteran households enrolled and serves hundreds monthly.

Free Produce Market Provides Much-Needed Food to Veterans and Active-Duty Servicemembers

This market turned out to be critically important during the coronavirus pandemic because it allowed veterans to simply drive up to the market to get needed produce without leaving their cars or going into stores. Many veterans are considered a high-risk population due to their age and underlying health conditions.

Access to healthy food is a significant aid to health. So it was considered essential to keep the market going throughout the pandemic, even when it started to snow.

Kevin with a volunteer.

Using his leadership skills and talent in logistics, Kevin worked with the produce delivery truck driver and VA grounds forklift operator. They placed multiple pallets at a safe distance from each other, in consideration for the safety of hospital staff working during the peak of the coronavirus crisis in Massachusetts.

Ordinarily, Kevin organizes hospital volunteers for this production. But during the pandemic, the use of volunteers has been suspended. Instead, Kevin recruited other staff from the hospital to serve as assistants, in order to maintain service for the veterans and active-duty military service members who come to the market each month for assistance.

With all workers in masks and gloves, Kevin coordinated the breakdown of over 1,100 pounds of fresh produce being placed into bags for curbside distribution. The Greater Boston Food Bank agreed to add 20% more produce based on an anticipated need to better manage current food insecurity.
Providing food to hundreds of needy veterans.

Even in late April snow, hundreds of cars were lined up to receive produce. In less than a minute, each vehicle’s occupants received a pineapple, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, mangos, beets, and salad mix.

After the market is over, Kevin ensures that any extra produce is loaded in a military-style production line onto a bus. He then drives the bus to Hanscom Air Force Base and distributes the food to other active-duty families.

Kevin received the 2018 AMU Distinguished Graduate Award. It is no surprise that his unwavering service, commitment, and excellence still shine through to serve his community.

He is a tremendous credit to AMU, the VA, and Navy veterans. Kevin’s favorite motto is the Seabee slogan: “The difficult we do immediately: the impossible takes a little longer.”

Get started on your Homeland Security Degree at American Military University.

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