Veterans Interview: Former Seattle Seahawk Dennis Boyd talks with Donna Ewing, a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army, at Patriot’s Landing in DuPont, Washington.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And now back to answers for elders as we honor our military veterans. Carriage is the proud sponsor of our veteran segment, hosted by former ctle Seahawk Dennis Boyd. Hello, this is Dennis Boyd. We’re here again at Patriots landing in Dupont, Washington and I am here with Donna Ewing, a twenty six year veteran of the US army. Donald, welcome to the show. Thank you, Donna. Were using the show as an opportunity for people to get to know more about the residents here at Patriots lanning and here’s some of the stories and just the careers that they’ve had with the military. Would you mind kind of giving us a reader’s digest version, if you will? I came into the military in the student program in one thousand nine hundred and sixty two and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh then went straight from there. Well, I had to wait till I had passed the are in licensure and then went to basic spent six months in little hospital in for what Chook Arizona, and was then sent to Japan. HMM, and weren’t told where we were going. So that assignment was very interesting because we all thought we’d be going to Vietnam and went over with open to hospital at all. Went over and three S S, with two of them carrying equipment and the third carrying personnel, and open the little hospital in Japan that started off as just the shelve of building. Which Island were you onned, you know, leaving on the big big guy, okay, man on the yes, or not? Very far from Tokyo, okay, half far by train and spent I would have spent three years get there, but my father’s illness took me home in two years. And so I went from there to Alexander, Virginia, and worked as an instructor for our license practical nurses. Then called ninety one Charlie’s list in the military system and was there two years. Went from there to Vietnam, okay, and was in Vietnam for year and a half and went from there back to the states again, and I had applied to graduate school and was accepted. So went to a military course, career course for the AMD’s, and amd is just the abbreviations for all the medical people, okay, dealing with at especially when you’re in Vietnam. We you insigon or we’re no. No. I spent a year in at the twelve of Act Hospital in Ge Okay and then, because it was people find this strange, but it was a good assignment. It was wonderful team work. We were all there for a purpose and we all work together to accomplish that, so that it was a good work setting with wonderful people. So we extended for our twelve to AAC assignment and they immediately cold closed the hospital. So then we were sent all over country and I went north to July and spent the last six months at the twenty seven surge because you lie so you’re taking in the men that were coming out of the mash units are basically from frontline. They’re getting to you a very quickly, straight straight off the helicopter. Stuff. Okay, that is as hard as it is to understand what’s going on, to see that, just to know that you were able to help and save some lives in the process. Well, and you know they’re doing even better today, but at that point in time they were bringing them to us much faster than they had in previous wars and so we were saving more. Yeah, all the time because the transport improved, the what they were able to do in the field improved, and so lives were saved as a result of that. We lost plenty, but we saved a fair number as well. Yes, with the team work. So tell me more about you. You came back to the states. Came back and then spent year and look porter in graduate school here at the University of Washington and then went back east again to Walter Reed to teach student registered nurses. HMM, in content in we were under the auspices of the University of Maryland at that time and spent almost four years there. Do they start calling you professor, you ing at that point, or do they just don’t call you fremial? Still called you by your rank. Yes, you know, they tried to get the students into the system. Yes, fairly early. So we were called by our rank. So from there you were teaching at then at Walter read, and it was a combination actually. We had students at the hospital, at what they called the old soldiers home, and that’s one of the retiree settlements there in the DC area, and we had students all over DC, was Walter read being one of the places they got there in hospital experience. Okay. So what happened after Walter read? After that I went back to the my original assignment for Withchook Arizona, as the assistant chief nurse, okay, and spent two years there and then was reassigned as chief nurse at Fort Knox, Kentucky, at the hospital there, another fairly small hospital but a nice setting. Went from there and then out here to Madigan and spent almost four years here prior to going to my third overseas assignment, which was trippler on Hawaii. Yes, that was overseas from me because I’m an animal lover and I had to take a four month old dog and leave her in quarantine for the next four months. Oh, but all you could do is go visit, which I did almost every day. Yeah, it’s a triple of what years be there. I was at trippler from eighty four hundred and eighty eight, okay, and that’s where I retired from trippler. That’s that that I jiffreget. Island fever over there. Just feeling a little confined or know? I well, yes and no, because but I like the outdoors. So did lots of hiking and got to do things I had never done before, like scuba diving, snorkeling, that sort of thing. I did SCOOBA, die by SNORFOLD. So it was you know, it was a fun assignment and it was a wonderful assignment workwise. Again, good people and I had a good assignment there. Yeah, so you retired from the military, from trippler, and then where did where did you go from there? From there, I stayed right here. Okay, I had purchased a house here along with the very good friend of mine in one thousand nine hundred and eighty one when I arrived here at Madigan and then just rented the place out for one year and then she came up from Texas and took over the House that I purchased. So we lived in that same place until we moved here to patriots landing and like twousand and fourteen. Tell me what you’ve seen as far as the evolution is for you know how you were trained when you first came in, versus what the nursing staff sees today as what they learned at as being part of the military. I think you just see so many advances, yeah, moost, in technology and the medications that are available and the way procedures are handled. You know the fact that they bring patients in today and do major surgery and send them home the next day, or that within two to three days. That is extraordinarily different than when I was in yeah, obviously that the little the notes they they gave me about you. Obviously like animal over to a little bit of gardening. Are used to. Well, I coordinate that the gardens here, okay, and I love gardening and I have done it. I’m because I took the master gardener course the year after I retired and then worked at that because it’s a free course, but then you have volunteer hours for payback, and did that for about seven years because I enjoy doing that. Down in the Olympi area. Yeah, they had a demonstration compost gardening center down there that I worked in as a volunteer over that period of time. Why? is also doing some part time nursing, but that’s just one of my hobbies. You know, I’ve always liked the outdoors, so hiking, cycling. Learned to ski in Japan. Just hopefully it not one of the indoor skiing places, but I actually I know I never did I never tried an indoor skiing, because I was amazed that they had the skiing they had in Japan, you know, because I thought of I went there expecting it to be Walde walled people, the perception you have of what an area is going to be. And Yeah, it was. Granted, it was very, very crowded when you were in the cities, but beautiful, beautiful country when you get out of the city. So absolutely yeah. So any memorable moments that you can think of that have your career with the military that you’d like to what takes you back and put a smile on your face? Oh God, probably probably both some of the patients with whom I became appointed as well as staffs that we worked with. I don’t think I can come up with any one, single one, but I still have been touched with many of the nurses that I’ve came to know and people over the country now who are retired and we stay in touch yet. But one of the things that would like to say is I think for nursing itself, there’s probably no more diverse place to stay in nursing then the military assignment, because not only do the assignments change, but the type of jobs that are available and are you’re expected to do change a lot, a lot more than they do in a civilian hospitals. All Right, obviously the Patriots slanning is benefited from your gardening skills. And can you tell me how’s your experience been here at Patriots lanning? Oh, I think like it very much good. It’s a good place to be. Once again, good people. Yeah, and they have been just so flexible as far as still have a pet and allowed us to put a fency in so that he has a place to go out without us having to walk them early in the morning and late at night. And it’s just they’ve been very accommodating and it’s very comfortable place curl ewing. Thank you very much for your time. We appreciate your service and thank you for your service and appreciate your showing your stories and thank you very much for this opportunity. Okay, thank you. This has been a special honoring Veterans Presentation of answers for elders brought to you by carriage. For more information about carriage, the website is sere agecom.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.