By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Schofield, Operation Lone Star Public Affairs
/ Published July 30, 2009
LA JOYA, Texas, July 29, 2009 -- "I believe if you have the ability to help, you also have the obligation to do so."
This simple statement illuminates the responsibility and dedication that provided the motivation for Texas State Guard Army Capt. Jodie Smith to leave her more lucrative civilian position and volunteer to participate in this year's Operation Lone Star.
A full-time labor and delivery nurse at Hill County Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas, this is both Smith's first year in Operation Lone Star and her first year with the Texas Guard. Although she joined the Guard just a few months ago, Smith said she is thrilled to be a part of Operation Lone Star and is learning something new about her life in the Texas Guard every day.
Smith's sense of the patriotic duty she feels is clear when she talks about what it costs her to participate in missions like Operation Lone Star. The Texas State Guard only provides her with a small stipend for this mission, she is cashing in the paid vacation days she has built up at her civilian job. But not only does Smith feel compelled to help out during Operation Lone Star, she is also rationing her remaining paid vacation days in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.
"My children are all grown," Smith continued, "and this gives me the opportunity to give something back."
Smith is manning one of the immunization stations at the La Joya Medical Innovative Readiness Training Team Site (MIRTTS), and says she is confident her work there is making a difference to her customers.
"I believe the most important preventative care we are offering is done at this station," she stated, speaking of the multitude of childhood vaccinations being offered at each MIRTTS.
"I know if I was in a position of need like these people and someone had the ability to make a difference, I would want them to help me," she concluded.