Carrying on a tradition of service

As a student at Northmont High School in Clayton, Ohio, Caitlin Donnelly was proud to tell her friends that her mother, Kimberly Donnelly, was active in the U.S. Air Force in intelligence operations. She reports that she wasn’t sure what that meant although she knew top security clearance was required and that her mother was working with computers and “secret squirrely stuff.”

So as a freshman in high school, Caitlin enrolled in Navy ROTC, and in December 2011 of her junior year enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. After high school graduation, she was off for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and then to specialized training as a medical technician at Fort Sam Houston.

As an MT, she is EMT certified and her scope of work is that of an LPN for which she is now state-certified. Currently, a technical sergeant, and one semester away from completing the RN program at Edison State Community College, she plans to complete the BSN program online at Ohio University after which she will be commissioned as a 2nd Lt.

In July 2018, Caitlin was deployed for six months to Qatar at the Al Udeid Air Base. Although she had been told what to expect, she wasn’t prepared. She said, “Being there was like being in a sauna. There was desert. Nothing to see and humid at times. I walked one and one-half miles to work, and we worked 60 hours a week, five 12-hour shifts.

“A part of ASTS of Wright Patterson Air Force Base, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and mental health professionals were there to treat civilian employees of the governments, contractors, and the military. We triaged and sent the most critically injured to Germany immediately. Our patients came from Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, and Jordan,” she said.

In addition to her college classes, she is currently working as an LPN at Bethany Village and looks forward to her preceptorship at Edison State in the fall where she will work with a nurse in clinical settings for 96 hours during a five-week period.

From June 6 to June 20 of this year, Caitlin is with her Wright Patterson Reserve Unit at Warren County, Ga., where the poverty rate exceeds 25 percent, to deliver health care to the uninsured, a part of the humanitarian work of the U.S. military.

When asked why she is good at her job, Caitlin’s response is quick and heartfelt: “I’m patient. I pay close attention to the doctors’ orders, and I’m not afraid to ask. I have integrity, and I’m always looking out for the best interests of my patients.”

She continues, “I’m especially interested in the geriatric population. When my grandparents get to the place where they need me, I want to use my skills and experience to provide them with care and love.”

Always pro-military and committed to service , Caitlin’s career goal is to work at the Dayton Veterans Administration.

Caitlin Donnelly Donnelly Provided photo

By Vivian Blevins

Contributing columnist

Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., a graduate of The Ohio State University, served as a community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and to work with veterans. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.