Soldiers on Việt Nam-Laos border fight pandemic
NGHỆ AN — Lieutenant Ngô Văn Bình, 35, was honoured to be one of 13 Party young members commended by the Nghệ An Provincial Youth Union in early 2021 for his contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He works at the Mỹ Lý Border Guard Station in the Việt Nam-Laos border area.
He said when the COVID-19 pandemic began to break out more than a year ago, the Mỹ Lỹ Border Guard set up three checkpoints at Nghệ An Province along the Việt Nam-Laos border area.
Bình was the first soldier who volunteered to participate in night patrols at these checkpoints.
Initially, the checkpoints were only temporarily constructed with tents.
“The sun burns in the summer, and it is chilly cold in the winter,” Bình said. “Overcoming harsh conditions, our soldiers have tried to fulfil their duties, detect and arrest many illegal entrants.”
Bình has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight and has helped his team spray disinfectant chemicals at 25 villages and nine schools and distribute 450 flyers with information about the pandemic and 1,500 face masks for free to local people.
The soldiers have even built a community house where children and people of the two border communes of Bắc Lý and Mỹ Lý can come to read books and gather.
“At the community house, we receive hot news provided by local people about border crimes or illegal entries, ”said Bình.
The two communes are located adjacent to Laos, in a remote and impoverished area, so many people cannot read or write, so Bình works hard to ensure all citizens understand COVID-19 prevention measures.
“The best way to do anti-pandemic education is by pictures,” he said. Bình himself painted those pictures.
In 2020, Bình and his teammates discovered 19 cases and arrested 23 illegal smugglers, seizing more than 23.7 gram of heroin and nearly 1,000 synthetic drug tablets.
He also worked with the Youth Union of Bắc Lý Commune to construct 3km of roads, organise free medical examination and drug supply worth more than VNĐ150 million (US$6,500) and donate 400 gifts worth VNĐ240 million ($10,400) to poor households.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Sỹ Đức, Chief of the Mỹ Lý Border Guard Station, said: “Bình is trusted by the commanding board of the unit and assigned many tasks in many working fields.
“He always works hard, completes his tasks and has become an excellent Party member,” Đức said. “In 2020, he was awarded the title of Emulation Soldier.”
Bình’s hometown is in Hưng Nguyên District, Nghệ An, more than 250km from the Mỹ Lý Border Guard station.
He said that his family was a rock for him, giving him the strength to do his job.
Although he had rarely visited his family in the past year or so, he always received encouragement from them.
“I am proud to be a border guard,” he said.
“For all my achievements, apart from the leaders’ guidance and colleagues’ help, my family is always the fulcrum.”
Facing the new developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in Laos, on May 2, the Command of the Nghệ An Province’s Border Guard received 66 officers of the provincial Military Command to strengthen the fight against the pandemic in border areas. VNS