By David M WhiteJanuary 30, 2018
Along the Appalachian Trail, they're known as "Surefoot" and "Starbucks." Here at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, they're known as Maj. Joe Lister, RN, and Capt. Daniel Lister, RN, respectively.
The Lister brothers use some of their free time to hike sections of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail with the goal of completing the entire trek one day. But, due to their day jobs, free time is a precious commodity.
Joe, 44, is a soon-to-retire officer in the Emergency Department and Daniel, 37, recently took the reins as the company commander of Troop Command's Alpha Company.
Joe said he initially enlisted in the Army so he could eventually go to college. "Mom said, 'you go to college or go in the Army … and I know the grades you have,'" he said.
After a two-year enlistment right after high school, Joe left and worked in law enforcement as a detention officer in western North Carolina.
"In 1998 I went back in the Army," Joe said, and I get the bug in my ear that I should go and volunteer in the E.R.
That experience interested Joe enough to work on the prerequisites for nursing school and, in 2000 through AMEDD's Enlisted Commissioning Program, he entered the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.
Daniel took a similar route, working full-time as a firefighter and EMT in Beaufort, S.C.
There he worked side-by-side with "bunch of ex-military … the Navy, Air Force, Army and of course we had Marines," Daniel said.
"Working full time, I understood quite quickly that you will not get rich quick," he said. "I was looking at going to paramedic school to increase my marketability [and] increase [my] pay."
It was about this time that Joe introduced Daniel to newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Stephenie Loferski, RN. She was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., when they started dating. With her supporting him, Daniel worked to become a nurse, starting nursing school at Columbus State, in Columbus, Ga. They married and, when she PCS'd to Fort Bragg, N.C., Daniel continued his education at the University of North Carolina -- Pembroke, just south of Fayetteville, N.C.
Daniel and Stephanie later celebrated the birth of their first child and he accepted a commission into the Army. ("No, I don't worry about saluting my big brother," he said. "I have to salute my wife.") His wife retired last August at the rank of major.
Throughout the years, a couple of deployments and various PCS moves, the brothers have never been stationed together until their time here at EAMC.
"I talked to then Chief Nursing Officer Col. Corina Barrow, Joe said, "I said I know of a top-notch captain in the Nurse Corps who would be a big asset here. And she said, 'absolutely. We want to bring him here.' And that's how we got to EAMC together."
The brothers' south-to-north AT hikes have been going off and on for about three years now. Coordinating the trips -- leave, permissions, travel, gear, supplies -- when they were deployed to different locations was an obstacle.
"And the weather dictates how far you're going to hike," Joe said.
Now, being here in Augusta, it's a bit easier.
"We do our Masters week [hike]," Daniel said, "because that's when the weather is still not too hot. And the views are nice because the foliage hasn't really closed in on you."
Now, as Joe tilts toward retirement and continuing to work as a nurse, and Daniel assumes Alpha Company command, "Surefoot" and "Starbucks" still look forward to the next section of the AT. It's just that, despite having the same duty station, the free time to put trail miles under their belts still is a precious and hard-to-come-by commodity.