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St. Pete teacher deploys with National Guard in response to coronavirus


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (WFLA) – A local teacher has left the classroom to join the fight against COVID-19. It’s a sacrifice he says he’s willing to make if it means protecting his students and his family.

Sgt. Frederick Harmon is in the Florida National Guard. He has been for years. He’s currently in West Palm Beach helping the Florida Department of Health as they work to control the ever-spreading coronavirus.

When he’s not in uniform, he’s at Blanton Elementary in St. Petersburg.

“Every year it’s a different set of kids and the connections that you build with them are always the best part,” said Sgt. Harmon.

Spring break had just ended, Florida was in a state of emergency and he was getting ready for virtual teaching.

“Literally the moment I walked into my classroom to collect all my materials I got a text message saying that we had been activated for the support of the COVID-19 response,” said Sgt. Harmon.

He’s done what he can; Sending back messages to his students as they continue class without him. Now they’re sending back messages to him.

“Hi Mr. Harmon. We are proud of you for everything you do for us in school and in the brigade. Thank you for being there. We miss you,” said one student in a video message.

It’s not easy leaving behind your wife and young daughter, but he says it’s worth it if it gets his kids back in school soon.

“Hi Mr. Harmon’s class! I hope that you guys are doing great, and we’re going to see each other again real soon. OK? I miss you guys. You’re doing great,” Sgt. Harmon said.

There are currently over 2,200 guardsmen deployed in response to COVID-19.


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