NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Minutes before Whitaker Lane in Norfolk was turned into the scene of a deadly mass shooting, Pastor Geoffrey Guns’ team had just wrapped up the evening canvassing for door-to-door COVID-19 vaccinations.
“It was a single domestic incident that does not reflect the life and the culture of the people who live in that community. They are not violent people, but there are violent people who come there, “said Guns, referring to the incident that traumatized men, women, and children.
Because of the violence, his team huddled with Sentara officials to decide whether keep, modify or suspend the Young Terrace program.
“Sentara remains committed we are just going to explore some alternative ways that we can get people vaccinated in the community,” said Guns.
Guns, who has been at the forefront of getting shots in arms in underserved communities, says other efforts to vaccinate the hesitant have not worked when door-to-door clinics have. Guns says many residents have young children or they are elderly and others don’t have transportation.
“I think door-to-door has worked primarily because when we go door-to-door, we get to meet the people; we get to know their names and addresses and they get to know us,” said Guns.
The door-to-door vaccine clinics will continue, even for some who don’t have doors. The team has vaccinated more than two dozen people on the corner of Chapel Street and Brambleton Avenue.
“Sometimes people see individuals on a corner the don’t really think much about it, but that’s a community people who gather there. You know, they may drink do other things, but it is a community of folk and they deserve to be protected as well,” Guns said.
Guns call the community at Chapel and Brambleton cordial and respectful.
“They call me Pastor Guns … they don’t have any problems with us coming there. They respect us and one of the things they say is ‘We appreciate you because you come… You don’t bring us anything, but you come because you care about us,'” Guns said.
His efforts don’t stop in Young Terrace. Guns’ church, Second Calvary Baptist Church on Corprew Avenue is hosting a vaccination clinic Thursday evening beginning at 4 p.m.
For more information contact the church at 757-627-7222