HomeNewsArticle Display

Volunteers spend summer at Medical Group

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- If you visit 45th Medical Group facilities at Patrick, you'll see youth volunteers helping out in the clinic filing records and in the Satellite Pharmacy handing out prescriptions. These high school students are spending their summer vacations serving military families on base under the supervision of the American Red Cross. 

The hours the volunteers earn with their Red Cross work can earn credit under Florida's Bright Futures Scholarship Program, open to young people planning to attend Florida colleges. 

Ray Valley is a Red Cross volunteer and the youth volunteer program manager. He said there are currently 24 volunteers enrolled in the program to work at the medical group. They are mainly the children of active-duty personnel or dependents of local military retirees. 

"The value of this program is that it allows the active-duty personnel the ability to focus on the tasks they were specifically trained for," said Mr. Valley. 

The volunteers also help to augment shortfalls that occur when personnel deploy. 

"Having volunteers helps fill the gaps created by deployments, because the work doesn't go away, it stays here," said Burt Slesinger, head of the Red Cross office. 

Chief Nurse Maj. Terri Bailey is the liaison between the Red Cross office and the medical group. Besides providing support for the volunteer program by informing the various departments of the opportunity and taking requests for the volunteers and the number of hours they would work, Major Bailey had a volunteer in her own office. The young lady was a tremendous asset to Major Bailey, helping her set up a new filing plan and building folders for incoming personnel. 

As the summer draws to a close, the youth volunteers have begun to leave the clinic to prepare for the upcoming school year, having contributed an estimated 2,100 hours of service. Major Bailey is grateful for the assistance the program provided to her and the 45th MDG. 

"They are invaluable," said Major Bailey. "They do the little things that make life easier that you just can't find the time to do."