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Lend a hand; Save a life

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
  • 455th AEW Public Affairs

The Craig Joint Theater Hospital offers a volunteer program available to all military members and civilians which allows them to work in various parts of the medical facility throughout their deployment here.

The program is run by Senior Airmen Reece Flatland and Morissa Whitcher, 455th Expeditionary Medical Group medical technicians, and they’ve trained more than 500 volunteers over a two month period to provide extra hands in the different clinics within the hospital.

“We train about 25 people in every course, and we train twice a week so that’s a lot of folks that are willing to give their time to come be a part of the team and make a difference here at Bagram,” Flatland said. “Our volunteers are eager and ready to help at a moment’s notice; we always have someone here on the floor ready to assist.”

Before someone can volunteer, they must first go through the volunteer orientation held every Tuesday and Friday at the hospital. Volunteers are briefed on responsibilities and safety measures and a tour is given around the hospital.

Upon being cleared from immunizations, volunteers are able to start working immediately. Areas open for volunteers to work include the dental clinic, physical therapy, public health, outpatient clinic, laboratory and more.

Two of the medical groups’ mission elements are trauma and movement of aeromedical patients, some of which involve critically ill suffering the effects of battlefield injures. Volunteers are briefed that they can expect to see injured patients on the hospital ward.

“There’s something for everyone to do. If we have a volunteer that prefers not to deal with blood, then we have administrative areas for them to help in,” Whitcher said. “There’s always something to do at the clinics. Whether it’s helping with a patient or helping restock supplies, we can always use the extra hands.”

The program volunteers are then able to take away hospital experience when the leave BAF.

“While I’m here I hope to gain experience in different areas of the hospital,” said Airman 1st Class Torrey Jenkins, 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron Personnel Support for Contingency Operations sustainment representative and hospital volunteer. “Being able to volunteer here is an awesome experience. I love to help people and it will also help me to decide which route to take for my future educational endeavors.”

Volunteers with a medical background are placed in a more advanced area of the hospital; however, all medical qualifications, certifications and credentials must be cleared through the medical squadron superintendent prior to performing patient care. When dealing with patients, a hospital staff member will be present at all times.

“There will always be someone around to assist the volunteers. If we get a patient in the operation or emergency room and the volunteer has prior experience then sometimes they may be allowed to observe,” Flatland said.

The CJTH is always looking for volunteers.

“Every hand on every patient is going to make a difference, whether it be bringing them back to their families or bringing closure to their families, leaving here knowing you volunteered your time willing to help save a life is more than we can ask for,” Flatland said. “Come be a part of our team and help make a difference.”