Two Brunel University London staff members, both military reservists, have spent the last two and a half months in uniform as part of Operation RESCRIPT, the UK military’s response to the national fight against Covid-19.
Major Mike Keighley, Army Reservist and Brunel’s Director of College Operations for the College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS), and Lieutenant Chris Stock, Royal Navy Reserve Officer and Brunel's College Services Manager for CHLS, were both deployed back in March to serve with the Joint Military Command based in the South East (JMC-SE).
In a twist of fate, the pair once again found themselves working alongside each other as they were both deployed to the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum (LRF). The forum is a multi-agency collective that combines the emergency services and local authorities in order to provide a coordinated response to the emergencies and critical situations posed by the coronavirus threat across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
Major Mike Keighley, Army Reservist; and Lieutenant Chris Stock, Royal Navy Reserve Officer
Mike is now employed as Thames Valley’s Joint Military Liaison Officer, using his skills and experience to ensure effective support between the military and civilian LRF partners. He is the go-to man if there is a need for the military to be called to task in any of the three counties.
Chris deployed as a Military Planner, and his excellent and valuable work as been instrumental in formulating the Covid-19 testing activity across the region.
Major Mike Keighley has served in the Army both on a full-time and reservist basis for some 32 years. He was responsible for the setting up of Brunel’s Armed Forces Network, which in part led to Brunel being recognised by the Ministry of Defence with the presentation of a Gold Employer Recognition Scheme Award last year.
Speaking of his experiences with Op RESCRIPT and the fight against Covid -19, Mike remarked: “After many years working on UK resilience operations across Thames Valley, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, it’s great to be able to return to this valuable work, using my skills and experience as an Army Reservist to help during these uniquely difficult times.
“Covid-19 has seen so many colleagues from across Brunel re-focusing their energies – often at incredibly short notice – to support the NHS and a variety of other aspects of the Covid response.
“Chris and I are both incredibly proud of the small part we’re playing to help us get back to normal as soon as possible and indirectly save lives through the work we do. Brunel – through College colleagues and HR teams in particular – have played a huge part in this, showing flexibility and understanding when we were required to quickly hand over and join the Covid-19 operation.
“It is a real privilege to work alongside LRF partner agencies and to see local authorities, health partners and emergency responders at work. We have had a unique opportunity to learn from how they have responded to the crisis. They are an impressive, professional and dedicated group of people and have made us feel part of the wider team from day one.”
Both Mike and Chris are expected to remain in their military guise working with JMC-SE until later this year before taking some well-earned leave ahead of re-joining the team at Brunel.
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