APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — Hortonville High School Director of Bands Greg Forton was excited to be able to reschedule the trip to Pearl Harbor his marching band was supposed to take in March 2020.
Then, he learned about the requirements to travel to Hawaii.
“The only way you can travel to Hawaii is to get a negative test, and so I panicked a little bit, thinking, ‘how are we going to do this with 230 people?'” he said.
Those 230 people, all anxious to go on the trip they had already missed out on twice: the originally planned March, and then the first reschedule of June 2020.
“Back in last March, I thought for sure it was just going to be over and we weren’t going to be able to,” Hortonville student and marching band member Trevor Lange said.
The band makes the trip to Pearl Harbor every four years.
“We always go to Pearl Harbor to honor our fallen troops,” Forton said.
Determined to make the trip happen, Forton reached out to see if anyone could help him get the entire band tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their trip.
“When I called Walgreens…they said, ‘We want to help you out on our end, we’ll take care of it at the stores,'” he explained.
Sunday and Monday, four Walgreens locations in the Fox Valley will work to administer the nearly 230 tests the group needs to go to Hawaii.
“They come through our drive-thru in 15 minute increments, quick swab of the nose, they process the test, they have their test within 24 hours, usually just a couple hours, and it’s all sent electronically so they’re able to upload those results right away,” Tiffany Ohagan, a Pharmacy Manager for Walgreens said.
The tests are provided free of charge to all the Hawaii-bound band members, including seniors that graduated in 2020.
“The opportunity that they provide these students, and that they’re able to bring back students back from last year who missed this, it’s just so great, I feel like we’re a part of history,” Ohagan said.
“I’m most excited to learn a lot about the Polynesian culture there and sort of also get that, you know, history of the armed forces, and Pearl Harbor and that sort of history,” Grace Vanden Huevel, a member of the band told Local 5. “I mean I’m excited for the beach as well, who wouldn’t be?”
Covid tests secured — they’ll be ready for their Hawaiian performance.
The band is set to embark on their adventure Monday.