Solvang funeral director, Dan Flynn, was deployed to New York as a member of the federal government's mass-fatality team.
Flynn, who is the owner of Simply Remembered Cremation Care in Solvang, spent three weeks working in New York City helping manage the staggering number of deceased due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Deaths have been the highest in New York of any city in the United States, with the death count reaching 1,200 per day during Flynn's tour of duty.
Flynn is a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT), which he describes as comparable to being in the National Guard, but for mortuary services. The team performs duties that include identification, tracking, burial preparation and returning remains to families during times of crisis and are deployed when an event overwhelms a local jurisdiction.
During his time in New York, Flynn was engaged in multiple assignments, at one point working with the U.S. Army's Mortuary Affairs Team, whose normal responsibilities include caring for the remains of U.S. military combat fatalities. Along with "Decedent Management", Flynn was tasked with assisting with autopsies performed at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.