Stories of Service: Lucy Cummins

Congratulations to Lucy Cummins of Richmond – winner of the 2021 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Young Adult Volunteer! The Health Brigade, a free clinic in downtown Richmond, became a vital resource for many as COVID-19 infections began to rise in Central Virginia. Lucy Cummins may have originally stepped into her role as a patient navigator to assist with Spanish interpretation and translation services, but quickly pivoted to address and overcome a number of challenges presented by the pandemic. Putting aside her own academic needs in developing her translation skills, Lucy got to work helping to get their COVID testing clinics off the ground.

Designing a safe and efficient system for the COVID testing program from the outset was a huge challenge in order to work around all the other regular services provided by the agency. Once the system was developed, the implementation involved the nuts and bolts of accumulating needed supplies including life-saving PPE and managing the physical set-up and take-down of tents, tables, chairs, etc. Most importantly, Lucy ensured that volunteers were safely and efficiently prepared to work with the flood of individuals who came from throughout the community for services.

Lucy assisted in the recording of vital records and data to ensure that patients received the proper care and provided much-needed medical interpreter services following the sudden loss of the clinic’s previous interpretation service. Not only was she able to give comfort and reassurance to patients, but she also took charge of developing a strong interpretation plan for future needs. Lucy helped to organize a cadre of interpreter volunteers and was also instrumental in providing training around gender inclusive interpretation.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Lucy continued to be a volunteer leader with quiet determination, a collaborative approach, and an unwavering commitment to the underserved Latinx community. She has served countless hours helping to care for those who are sick, vulnerable, and stigmatized — always treating every single patient with dignity and compassion.

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