In his drive to help local older adults, Galt resident Bob Balliet has always given his all. The chair of the city Commission on Aging particularly made his mark in 2021 by pushing for mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics for seniors with mobility issues.
Balliet spoke to the Herald about the clinics in March, which were held in partnership with the Cosumnes Fire Department. He said he first saw the need when he heard from the manager of a development for older adults that some residents were unable to travel for vaccinations.
So he made a public comment at a Galt City Council meeting asking that mobile clinics be organized. In time, the fire department agreed to help carry out the project. Balliet and fellow Commission on Aging members got involved in promoting the signups for the clinic both with fliers and online, and clinics happened in late April. A drive-thru event, organized through the Sacramento County Department of Public Health, also provided immunizations to those with more mobility.
The commission needed to do more community work, Balliet said, and this was a timely opportunity.
“I saw that there was a need for us to get more involved, especially now that we’re going into the vaccination process,” Balliet said in the interview.
“Bob is a great guy. He does anything for the seniors,” fellow Commission on Aging member Andrea Johnson told the Herald. “He’s a really great advocate, and he makes it very personal. He will show up, have meetings with them, talk about their concerns and try to resolve it.”
Johnson said older adults often feel isolated and ignored, making it important to provide assistance.
“They don’t feel like their voice is heard. They’re scared of repercussions of speaking out,” Johnson said. She added that Balliet did “a great job” at getting vaccines to those who wanted them, even calling to check on them.
And the leftover vaccine doses didn’t go to waste either. Coronavirus vaccines must be used after the vials they are stored in are thawed, so how to handle any extra doses has posed issues. Once the scheduled mobile vaccine recipients had been served, the excess was used to offer vaccines to homeless people.
Galt Mayor Shawn Farmer commented on Balliet’s selection as person of the year.
“Bob is an asset to the community. He has been a devoted advocate for Galt seniors and dedicated in everything he does,” Farmer said in a statement. “He served his country as a young man and now serves his community in his retirement. I am proud to know him and consider him a friend. Congratulations to him.”