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    Minneapolis Team says bittersweet farewell to Hennepin Medical Center

    Minneapolis Team says bittersweet farewell to Hennepin Medical Center

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke | U.S. Airforce Capt. Jenna Mason sorts nightly medications during her final shift at...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke 

    Defense Department Support to FEMA COVID-19       

    The members of a military medical team assigned to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, completed their final shift in the hospital the morning of Jan. 23, 2022. The team operated for over two months as part of the ongoing FEMA-led, whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will return to their home installations later the following day.

    One of the team members, U.S. Air Force Capt. Jenna Mason, a registered nurse with the 633d Medical Group out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, said that though she’s happy to be headed home for a while, she’s also sad to say goodbye to the hospital where she’s worked to save countless lives.

    “It feels kind of bittersweet, you know?” said Mason.

    The team was made up of doctors, nurses and respiratory technicians from different installations across the Air Force. Mason said she was proud to serve with such a professional team and that the mission will hold a special place in her memories.

    “Just the impact we have on the patients, it’s what makes being a nurse so rewarding,” said Mason. “We don’t just pass out [medicine] but we hold their hands and help them through it all. We’re emotional support as well.”

    The Air Force members were all called on to individually sacrifice in service of the mission, some in uniquely challenging ways. Recently married, Mason canceled her honeymoon to assist the people of Alexandria, Louisiana during an earlier deployment.

    “I got married on the 21st of August, and I left four days later,” said Mason.

    Her husband works as a paramedic back in Virginia. The two dated through college and her commissioning in the Air Force.

    “[The] first thing I’m going to do when I get back is give him a big hug. I’m looking forward to getting to be married for a little bit, you know?” said Mason.

    U. S. Air Force Maj. Megan George, a registered nurse also assigned to 633d Medical Group out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, had just arrived at her duty station when the needs of the nation called her away.

    “I’d only been in Virginia for six weeks before I came here,” she said. “I had just arrived and off I went!”

    Besides being a recent transplant to Virginia, George had come off maternity leave only 10 days before her flight touched down in Minnesota.

    “My daughter was one year and 10 days old when I left. It’s my first time being deployed, so it's a little funny that I deployed stateside,” said George.

    “This was a good challenge. It had been a long time since I’d been working bedside like this. I’ve been nursing for a while now, so it’s good to polish up those skills,” said George.

    “These missions are important because not only do we help other Americans, the people we’re serving for, but we also get to practice and refine our skills with not just infectious disease but also trauma patients. These experiences gained here are going to translate to lives saved in the future.”

    “I feel like I’m doing something important, and something that mattered,” said George. “And if you look around and see the look on people’s faces you know that we made a difference.”

    The nurses both went on to say that they had faced numerous challenges during their time at the hospital, but both ultimately agreed the mission had been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

    “So much of this was memorable. Not just the hospital but really the people,” said Mason.

    “That’s who it’s for, all the people we can help. I’m going to miss Minneapolis and I hope I can keep helping people like this.”



    Date Taken: 01.22.2022
    Date Posted: 01.24.2022 15:35
    Story ID: 413264

    Web Views: 1,397
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