Son gives father COVID vaccine shot - Milwaukee VA Medical Center
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Milwaukee VA Medical Center

 

Son gives father COVID vaccine shot

Son gives father COVID vaccine

Mark Mueller, right, a registered nurse at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, gives the COVID vaccine to his father, Carl, who also works at the hospital.

By David Walter
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

It’s one of the best gifts a son can give to his father.

On Wednesday, Mark Mueller, a registered nurse with the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, gave his father, Carl, the COVID-19 vaccine.

Carl is a physical therapy assistant at the Milwaukee VA, where Mark’s wife also works.

“It’s a blessing to be able to do this,” Mark said. “It’s just such a historic thing. And everybody has that drive to make their father proud.”

It was happenstance that led to the father-son shot.

Mark normally works in clinical informatics and medical technology but stepped up to administer vaccine shots when the call went out for volunteers.

When he came into the vaccination clinic Wednesday morning, he saw his father there, waiting to get his shot. Mark asked the clinic officials if he could be the one to inoculate his father.

“I said, ‘Hey, do you mind if I just grab him?’” he said. “And they were like, ‘Of course you can, Mark.’” he said.

Co-workers snapped photos of the event, which went smoothly, Mark said.

“I felt very confident,” he said, noting he’s logged many hours giving vaccines. “I felt good and comfortable, and I felt like I was helping to protect him.”

Carl agreed.

“He’s very skilled with the needle,” Carl said. “That was especially good.”

Mark’s wife, Alana, who works in human resources, said her mother-in-law was delighted when she heard Mark had given the shot to his father.

“It’s awesome. It’s history,” she said.

Carl, 66, has been with the VA about 15 years, and Mark signed on in 2007.

“He told me how great it was to work for the VA,” he said.

This is a second career for Carl; he retired as a welder with AO Smith when he was 49 and went back to school.

Carl’s oldest son, Karl, used to work at the Milwaukee VA but is now working in the ICU for Froedtert Hospital.

The Muellers aren’t Veterans, though Mark’s grandfather served in World War II. Serving Veterans at the Milwaukee VA is their way of giving back, he said.

“We were able to continue his legacy of service,” he said. “I’m very honored to do that.”

Mark said he’s optimistic the vaccine can lead to a return to normalcy down the road.

“It just puts a smile on my face knowing that we are transitioning to a more normal period of existence,” he said. “It’s like putting a shot into 2020 and saying, ‘We’re done with this. We’re moving forward.’”

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