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Hometown Hero: Jackie Hackney and Mattie Smith

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, V.a. (WVVA) -- With just a knock at the door, Jackie Hackney and Mattie Smith have given many the chance to return to a normal life during the pandemic.

"We really were so passionate about the vaccine administration being equitable," said Mattie Smith, a registered nurse for the PACE program at Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens and one of the Hometown Hero's.

The Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens clinical pharmacist and registered nurse have helped over 500 people. From scheduling vaccinations to delivering in-home shots to those struggling for appointments, all of this was done with the health department's approval.

"We worked with them to try to just discover those patients that were home-bound, that didn't have transportation, and that needed a vaccine and wanted a vaccine," said Smith.

"It's just a wonderful experience, they've been waiting for a vaccine ever since the COVID vaccine came out and they just didn't know how to get it," said Jackie Hackney, a clinical pharmacist with Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens and the other Hometown Hero.

This dynamic duo were paired together through a happy accident.
Hackney was a one man show, struggling with getting connections secure.

"She heard me one day trying to make an appointment for one of our participants and it took me over four hours to get an appointment made," said Hackney.

When the pharmacist learned of Smith's ties with a local hospital, an effective partnership was born.

"Through those ties she realized that they were getting a huge shipment," said Hackney. "We just started going everywhere asking for vaccines so that we could do it ourselves."

And so did a friendship based on a love for helping others.

"We have not only a great professional relationship, but also personal relationship," said Smith. "We're both very passionate about educating people who have questions about the vaccine, we want to make this experience as painless and easy as possible."

That passion has not gone unnoticed.

"When you are around those individuals, both of them, you can feel the love from them," said Regina Sayers, the executive director of the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens. "You can feel that they are caring, they're compassionate, and that they have the heart for the work that they're doing."

"I think it's great that they come here because there's no way i could've gotten bill out." said Dorothy Matney, a Bluefield, West Virginian resident that received the vaccine. "They were just as nice as they can be. And my family, they just think the world of them."

Going above and beyond to care for their community, that is what makes Jackie Hackney and Mattie Smith emerge as hometown heroes during the pandemic.

Christina Kass

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