By Ms. Michelle Thum (Regional Health Command Europe)February 4, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany -- For the last 16 years Capt. Kathleen Stewart has played volleyball in both competitive and recreational leagues, now she is taking her talent to the next level with the goal of earning a spot on the All-Army volleyball team.
Stewart, officer in charge of the Wiesbaden Veterinary Treatment Facility, will travel to Fort Bragg, N.C. in February to attend the All-Army Women's Volleyball Trial Camp where she will represent Public Health Activity Rheinland-Pfalz and the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
If selected for the Army Volleyball Team, she will go on to compete with the Army team against other military services in the Armed Forces Volleyball Tournament held also at Fort Bragg, March 6-8.
Stewart started playing volleyball when she was 12 years old and played competitively in middle school and high school. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate schooling, she played intramural and city recreational leagues which were less competitive, but a great way to keep up with the sport and make friends, she said.
Stewart attended Kansas State University for veterinary school, which is where she learned about the Health Professions Scholarship Program. HPSP provides scholarships for medical professionals to complete graduate school and then commission into the military as an officer upon completion of their degree requirements.
"Joining the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was the perfect opportunity to serve my country while pursuing a profession that I love," Stewart said.
Shortly after arriving to Wiesbaden, Stewart said she found a group that got together on the weekends to play volleyball and participated in local tournaments with other U.S. military teams.
"I love that volleyball is a team sport and, much like the Army, truly requires everyone to work together to succeed," Stewart said. "Being part of a team makes victories that much more fun and helps cushion any losses with support from teammates. Playing on various teams has helped build my leadership and communication skills and pushes me to continue to work on my physical fitness."
Debra McNamara, a teammate from her Wiesbaden Community team and former All-Army Volleyball Team Player, encouraged Stewart to submit an application to the Army team.
"I have always loved the sport and couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for the Army," Stewart said.
Stewart also said that volleyball has taught her to think strategically, something that she has been able to utilize in her professional life as well.
"Volleyball is often a strategic game that includes a lot of foresight and planning," she said. "When playing I must have a good idea of what the other team is doing and where my players are before making a decision for the play. Plays can have the best of intentions but it's always important to have back-up options in case something goes wrong. This carries over to my day-to-day life in the Army because plans always go astray and it's important to have other courses of action. I have learned how to be more goal-oriented, be a stronger communicator and be a better team-player."
As the officer in charge of the Wiesbaden VTF, Stewart is responsible for day-to-day operations of the clinic. The VTF's mission consists of medical care for Military Working Dogs and pets of USAG Wiesbaden service members, as well as food safety and public health for USAG Wiesbaden.