NMCSD Hospital Corpsman selected as Navy Medicine Sailor of the Year
by MC3 Pyoung K. Yi, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A Sailor stationed aboard Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) was selected Jan. 14 as the 2013 Navy Medicine Sailor of the Year (SOY).
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Monica M. Reeves, a native of Wonder Lake, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, was selected as the Navy Medicine SOY from Navy Medicine West (NMW).
NMW consists of 10 Military Treatment Facilities and two Naval Dental Centers spanning the Western Pacific from California to Japan.
Every year, each facility selects one Sailor of the Year that represents an example of what the rest of the fleet should strive to emulate.
When Reeves initially learned she was selected as SOY from the Surgeon General of the Navy and Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, she was in a state of shock.
"I went through a whole series of emotions, from shock to pride to amazement. All four of us (SOYs from Navy Medicine East, Bureau of Medicine Headquarters and Navy Medicine Education Training Command) were sitting together when I found out. Each person is an outstanding leader and I was so happy I could bring this title back to the hospital," she said.
Reeves is, by all accounts, an engaging leader who shows concern for the Sailors under her charge and motivates them to take pride in their respective roles at NMCSD.
"I get out there to try to get to know my Sailors," said Reeves, NMCSD's Military Health Center leading petty officer and independent duty corpsman program administrator. "I take an interest in my junior Sailors military careers and personal lives to ensure they are happy."
Reeves makes it a priority to get out of the office and get to know the hospital corpsmen under her charge.
"I'd say I'm a leader who doesn't remain behind the desk," said Reeves. "I try to get out there within the command so I have knowledge of different programs offered in the Navy. It makes me sure I know what to offer my junior Sailors."
Another leadership trait which impressed her superiors was Reeves' ability to organize and build a cohesive workforce.
"It was quickly evident that she had the pulse of the clinic and knew each Sailor," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Jeremy L. Simon, leading chief petty officer, Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. "She communicated clear expectations, trained and motivated her Sailors to form a solid team then led them to success."
Reeves enlisted when she was 18 years old and decided to continue the legacy that both of her grandfathers began by joining the Navy.
"I wanted to carry on the tradition of my grandfathers," said Reeves.
The event that led Reeves to serve her country as a hospital corpsman remains seared in her memory; In 1990, she was at the Road America Raceway in Wisconsin watching her father race an MG Midget racecar.
"I was sitting with my brother on the bridge that went over one of the straightaways," said Reeves. "My dad's car didn't pass by. We noticed again it didn't pass by."
A yellow flag was waved, indicating caution. Then, a black flag, signifying a particular car is in distress and must pull off the track.
"My brother and I knew it had to have been my father since we didn't see his car," said Reeves.
A ThedaStar Air Medical transport team was summoned and a helicopter evacuated her father, who had been in a collision, to the Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis., about 90 minutes away. Reeves' father was unresponsive and hooked up to life support by the crew. During the ordeal, his heart stopped once, and was resuscitated.
While Reeves' father was in the emergency room, the rescue crew took Reeves and her brother to their helicopter and showed them its inner workings.
"They let us sit in the pilot seats and take pictures," she said.
The medical knowledge displayed by the ThedaStar Air Medical team and their ability to bring her father back to life after his heart had stopped left a deep impression on her. It led to her decision to become a hospital corpsman in order to help others in the same manner.
"I wanted to do for others what the ThedaStar crew had done for my father," said Reeves.
In addition to her dependable leadership and unwavering conviction to be a hospital corpsman, Reeves appreciates the camaraderie she has experienced with other hospital corpsmen.
"It's a tight-knit community, especially at NMCSD," said Reeves. "We have honor in treating patients - making sure they are fully recovered."
Reeves has been in the Navy for 16 years and is married to Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class Charles Reeves, who was also Fleet Readiness Component Southwest (Sea) SOY for 2013 with two children.
She has completed tours aboard the aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and USS Eisenhower (CVN 69).
Reeves also was an instructor at Naval Survival Training Institute - Aviation Survival Training Center in Pensacola, Fla., where she taught pilots and aircrewmen water and aviation survival techniques. In addition, she attended Independent Duty Corpsman "C" school in San Diego where she graduated with honors.
She is currently a senior at George Washington University and is studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Health Sciences. In her free time, Reeves enjoys running half marathons. In 2012, she completed the Silver Strand Half Marathon (13.1 miles) which stretched from Coronado to Imperial Beach (San Diego County).