Civil rights icon on vaccine frustrations: ‘God despatched me an angel named Ashley’

CHESAPEAKE, Va (WAVY) – Dr. Patricia “Pat” Turner registered with the City of Norfolk, Virginia and contacted three churches.

All of this was an attempt to get a potentially life-saving coronavirus vaccine – and it failed.

Frustrated, she reached out to former Norfolk Alderman Randy Wright, who then reached out to Regina Mobley of 10 On Your Side.

(Courtesy photo of Dr. Patricia Turner)

In a Zoom interview this weekThe 76-year-old gymnast, who suffers from high blood pressure, shared her frustration over efforts to plan a vaccine.

Vaccination frustrations from Norfolk civil rights icon: I don’t know what’s wrong with me

“Nobody calls me, nobody has contacted me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she said.

“What’s wrong with me?” is the same question 13-year-old Turner asked herself when she was beaten, pushed, and spat on while helping with the 1959 integration of Norfolk Junior High School leading the way Norfolk 17.

What is wrong today is the vaccine registration systems, which are difficult to navigate even if, like Turner, you are familiar with various software systems. 10 On Your Side has encountered problems Users have experience with various vaccine registration programs.

10 On Your Side Viewer Ashley Welton Gnilka heard Turner’s calls for help, which he signed up to on late Thursday evening and grabbed a coveted appointment for Friday morning at 10:15 am.

(Courtesy photo by Ashley Welton Gnilka

“It’s very difficult. I got appointments for older people in my family. I just wanted to help her navigate the process and I helped make an appointment Thursday night,” said Welton Gnilka.

Like the family, Gnilka came to the appointment.

“And I just met her to make sure it went through,” she said.

At the check-in counter, Welton told Gnilka that she made the appointment on Turner’s behalf. The rest was history in the making.

After queuing in a short queue, Turner was placed in the capable hands of the pharmacist Kevin Gordon. While in the hot seat, Turner asked if he had ever heard of Norfolk 17. Gordon, a New Yorker, replied “No”.

Turner then introduced himself as one of 17 teenagers who risked their lives in 1959 when a court order paved the way for them to integrate the Norfolk Public Schools.

Turner quipped, “They say I’m a celebrity.”

(WAVY Photo: Regina Mobley)

Gordon administered the first of two Moderna vaccine doses with no problem and instructed Turner to wait at least 15 minutes in the store in case any side effect occurred.

The veteran educator used these protocols to provide Welton Gnilka, two patients from Norfolk, and Gordon with a firsthand account of their groundbreaking but dangerous journey as a member of the Norfolk 17.

(Photo: Regina Mobley / WAVY)

When the 15 minutes were up, Turner and her new friend strolled to the till. Turner stopped and picked up a small Whitman’s sampler to celebrate a sweet ending.

“How can you wake up in the morning and help people you don’t even know? I think God sent me an angel named Ashley. Let me tell you something; I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for 10 On Your Side.

Turner’s vaccination angel also planned the second Moderna dose for April 2nd.

A 10 success on your side
(WAVY Photo: Larry Carney)

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