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Heart of Utah: Navajo Strong

The Navajo Nation is one area that has truly been hard hit by the pandemic. And Utahns are finding ways to give and donate in unprecedented ways. 

“I thought, I can do something, I want to help,” said Bud Frazier.

Frazier is a registered nurse who lives in Lehi but his grandparents live on the reservation.

“I knew this pandemic would be hard for them,” he said. “They live on a desolate mesa, miles away from a paved road, with no electricity or running water.”

He knew many others would also have a hard time also.  The Navajo Nation is the size of West Virginia but only has 10 or 11 grocery stores. Many people have to drive to border towns to get supplies.

So Frazier started gathering supplies and making the long drive himself every weekend to drop them off.

Word grew, and more people wanted to help. They started offering trucks and trailers, buying cleaning supplies and donating masks and non-perishable food and water.

“Once it got on social media, it blew up. I was just amazed at the outpouring of help,” he said.

The effort became an official charitable organization over the summer. Now Frazier runs Navajo Strong as the founder and executive director. He has two part-time employees and several volunteers.

“One thing that distinguished us from other groups, is I wanted to go find the people who were like my grandparents –isolated in these remote areas on the reservation. And one thing that was a problem initially was education,” he noted.

Now they put educational materials about the virus in each bin that they take to homes, in both English and Navajo. They’ve served about 900 families in a dozen communities so far.

“It has empowered a lot of people,” said Frazer. “I think of the people down there, these volunteers who step up and help their fellow tribesmen.”

The need continues as the pandemic keeps going. Frazier hopes people can gather donations for Navajo Strong throughout the holidays. He’s grateful for everything that has been donated so far.

“2020 has been such a downer, and people are stepping up to help,” he said.


 

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How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States