Oregon Army National Guard 1st Lt. Beth Biggs ’18 Provides Essential PPE to Communities Throughout Oregon

Beth Biggs in National Guard uniform with logo that reads "University of Portland Pilots Give Back Spring 2020"When 1st  Lt. Beth Biggs ’18 received her orders on March 29, she was ready. She was in the Army ROTC program during her time at UP and now part of the Oregon Army National Guard 141st Brigade Support Battalion’s COVID-19 response team, distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout Oregon. “I was one of the first 14 on this mission out of our hub in Wilsonville; now we have 175 soldiers on board,” she says. “We stand ready at a moment’s notice to be called up for any emergency.” 

Through a partnership between the Oregon Military Department, multiple state agencies, and seven County Assistance Teams, Lt. Biggs provides face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, and more to 36 counties, 11 tribal nations, and more than 800 assisted living facilities and hospitals in Oregon. “There’s a lot of moving pieces,” she explains, a lot of behind-the-scenes work to move shipments quickly and safely.

“One of the most meaningful moments was watching 140 ventilators sent to New York,” Lt. Biggs recalls. When Governor Kate Brown ordered the ventilators shipped to New York’s overwhelmed hospitals, Lt. Biggs’s team packed them in boxes sealed with “Oregon is Here for You” stickers. “Watching those get loaded to head to the airport, knowing that they would all be used—that’s why I’m here.” 

Lt. Biggs has family in assisted living facilities, so this work is especially meaningful to her. “Knowing I’m not only impacting the community, but seeing the impact on my family as well, it’s why I’m in my uniform, it’s why I raised my hand for the National Guard,” she says. “We help at a community level, and we’re here for our state at any time, in any crisis.”

COVID-19 response photos from the Oregon National Guard