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Kurt Grimmer wants to chat. That’s why he wants you to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

Kurt Grimmer is a people person. He can’t help but chat up anyone in earshot, which may be what he’s missed most during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The most frustrating part was the lack of socialization,” he said. “That’s what really makes us thrive. Getting out and about. Interacting, whether it’s a recreational activity or social activity or backyard barbecue—it’s so important for our mental health.”

Grimmer is an elected board member of PenMet Parks, which gives area kids sports and recreation opportunities. The organization also manages and maintains park facilities in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula areas. He’s volunteered in the community for years and has always been active outdoors.

“It gets old pretty fast when you’re spending too much time at home,” he said. “It affected me emotionally. My kids got a little concerned—not seriously—but they were like, ‘Gee, Dad seems kind of grouchy lately.’”

Thanks to COVID-19 vaccine, that’s started to change. Grimmer got vaccinated in March, and he’s been enjoying the sense of freedom that came with it.

“I’m looking forward to everything getting back to what it was before—and I think it will,” he said. “So many of us have already gotten vaccinated. My friends and everybody. We’re just excited about it. When we see each other, we just want to hug because it’s been so long.”

Kurt Grimmer

Trusting medicine.

Grimmer didn’t hesitate to get vaccinated. In fact, he could hardly wait.

“I tried to get the vaccine as soon as possible,” he said. “I started getting vaccinations as a kid. Vaccinations have stopped the flow of so many different diseases. Polio, for example. Measles, mumps, typhoid.”

Grimmer said he knows vaccines must pass some of the toughest safety measures in medicine. The process to approve and monitor them has been around for decades. It’s the same process used to develop vaccines for the measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and the seasonal flu.

“The track record for vaccines in this country has been hugely successful,” he said. “We have some very high standards for administering medicine and vaccines for sure, and the research that has gone into these vaccines was incredible. I feel really confident.”

Pivoting, learning and reopening.

When the pandemic hit, PenMet Parks had to adjust. 

“It was really sad in a sense because so many of the traditional programs had to be put on hold for a while,” Grimmer said. “But it was also really inspiring to see some really creative things being done by the recreation team at PenMet Parks.”

Grimmer said the team came up with several new ways to keep people connected, virtually or physically distanced. 

“That’s what we do as humans, we pivot,” he said. “When everything got shut down, I started to go to downtown Gig Harbor every night and walk the loop on the waterfront. So many other people started doing the same thing. Sooner or later you start recognizing folks and waving.”

Now that people are getting vaccinated and case counts are on the decline, more opportunities are available.

“There’s many activities that have already opened up,” Grimmer said. “The Gig Harbor Dragon Boat team, for example. We’ve started practices and have a bunch of new members. So, that tells you, people are looking for things to do.”

Grimmer said vaccinations have helped lead to a sense of normalcy there as well.

“We tell everyone who wants to participate, we highly recommend you get vaccinated,” he said. “If you do, you don’t have to wear a mask. And I don’t know of anyone on the team that hasn’t been vaccinated. It’s been really fantastic.”

Smiles are making a comeback as well.

“Part of it is the weather,” he said. “But everybody I interact with now, you can just see it on their faces. We used to not be able to see those smiles because of the masks, but now we’re seeing those smiles and it’s energizing people.”

Don’t wait, vaccinate.

Grimmer believes the COVID-19 vaccines are our best path out of this pandemic, and he’s telling all the people he’s getting to chat with again.

“I just highly encourage people to get vaccinated for COVID-19,” he said. “That’s the quickest way to get back to normal and get your life thriving again. You’ll just be so happy. When you get that second shot and then 2 weeks have passed, you’re just going to be elated. I’ve seen it so many times.”

That’s how it happened for him, opening chances to enjoy people’s company like before.

“The value of getting the vaccine is so beneficial,” Grimmer said. “You can’t overstate the benefits. And it’s so wonderful they came up with it so quickly and that they’ve been able to make so many vaccines and get it out so quickly. Those that are on the sidelines, now’s the time to get it and help us move forward.”

Find your dose.

Find your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can register online or drop in at any vaccine clinic without an appointment.

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.