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    Mom's Deploy Too

    Mom's Deploy Too

    Photo By Sgt. Joseph Knoch | U.S. Air Force Capt. Lindsay K. Jefferies, left, a clinical nurse assigned to the 55th...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Joseph Knoch 

    Federal Vaccine Response

    HOUSTON, Texas – Zipping through the post-vaccination observation lanes at the Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at the NRG Stadium in Houston, on her golf cart is U.S. Air Force Capt. Lindsay K. Jefferies, a mother and clinical nurse with the 55th Medical Group, out of Offutt Air Force Base (AFB), Nebraska.

    As an Airmen and mother, Jefferies is one of many duty-bound service members deployed this Mother's Day to the CVC at NRG Stadium and across the nation in support of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

    “This is my fourth deployment in 16 years and the third that I've had as a mom," Jefferies said. "One thing that has helped our family is the use of apps like Zoom and Face Time, every day or else every other day to keep in touch with one another when separated.”

    Jefferies is one of approximately 220 Airmen currently deployed to Houston’s CVC at the NRG Stadium and serves to ensure the wellbeing of Houstonians post-vaccination by monitoring for adverse reactions to the vaccine before patients drive off-site.

    "I've seen Capt. Jefferies handle some anxious patients well," said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Marissa Sunnekalb, a clinical nurse assigned to the family medicine residency clinic, 55th Medical Group at Offutt AFB. "She helps them to calm down by using facts about the vaccine and the virus, in general, to help ease their minds while remaining discerning about when they truly do need elevated medical care."

    Serving on the observation team requires these nurses to drive around and make sure that patients are not having any allergic reactions or other types of responses to include panic attacks. If someone has an actual allergic reaction, then the nurses respond by getting their information, checking vitals, and calling in for elevated medical care through Harris County Emergency Medical Service.

    “I work in the Vaccination Adverse Event Reports System here at the CVC, which can get extremely busy,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Catherine Kuniyoshi, a clinical nurse and flight commander for ambulance services, with the 325th Medical Group, at Tyndall AFB, Florida. “Jefferies and Sunne have a lot of situational awareness, and they have been two of my best friends here because they make sure I have what I need. Their attention to what others are going through has strengthened our bond of trust.”

    Kuniyoshi works in oversight of the documentation that takes place when any adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine occurs. Her partnership with other post-vaccine medical observers plays a key role in maintaining the quality of care for Houstonians who elect to receive the vaccine.

    "Being a mother of a 13-year-old son and experiencing multiple deployments has given me a lot of respect for the resilience of military children," said Kuniyoshi. “They go through a lot of change but always seem to become stronger for it.”

    Jefferies recalls making breakfast in bed with her sister for their mom when they were girls and said that the tradition continues with her in some ways.

    "For Mother's Day, my husband always helps my girls make breakfast for us, and afterward, we go for a walk and spend the day together as a family. Sunday is always our family day; we have breakfast or dinner together and spend time doing something fun to keep our family dynamic going."

    Each day that she is gone Jefferies receives an email from her daughter Danica with an inspirational quote of the day inside.

    “It’s really special I can receive her love and then share it through the quote of the day with the members of our team here and help keep our spirits up,” Jefferies said.

    The friendship between these three nurses is what Sunnekalb describes as unavoidable; even though they are not all mothers, they share a common bond through marriage to either a current or retired active duty Airmen as well as a profession they love.

    “My husband, Brandon Jefferies, is a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, with 20 years of service," Jefferies said. "So our family understands that deployment is a part of our life. As a result, Brandon has also been gone for long periods, which is, of course, a challenge, but we always get through it together.”

    Likewise, Kuniyoshi’s husband shares in the joys and burdens of deployment, granting a common family understanding of her commitment to serving our nation during times of need.

    “I’m so thankful to have my husband, Master Sgt. Dean Kuniyoshi, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Expeditionary Manpower Management course, 823rd Red Horse Detachment 1, who is at home with our son Caden,” Kuniyoshi said. He makes being separated so much better since I know that one of us is still there with him."

    Jefferies said that when she returns to Nebraska, her home state, she plans to celebrate Mother's Day with her mom Margie, stepmom Cindi, 11-year-old Danica, and 8-year-old Kourtnee.

    “Now that we are close to my mom and stepmom, who both live in Nebraska, we are spending more time with them,” Jefferies said. “So for Mother's Day, even though I'm not back home, I just want to say I love you both so much to my Mom and Cindi; I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day. To my girls Danica and Kourtnee, please know that even though I’m not there to celebrate with you, I love you so much and will be home to celebrate with you soon.



    Date Taken: 05.06.2021
    Date Posted: 05.07.2021 12:06
    Story ID: 395870
    Location: HOUSTON, TX, US 
    Hometown: MOHRSVILLE, PA, US
    Hometown: OMAHA, NE, US

    Web Views: 72
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