Diverse in talent, united in mission; 120 years of service

By Brandy Ostanik-ThorntonFebruary 22, 2021

Virtual Celebration
Virtual Celebration - Army nurse and Army Medical recruiter, Maj. Jodi Stoafer (on screen) virtually greets guests during the Medical Department Activity-Alaska celebration of the 120th Army Nurse Corps Anniversary at Bassett Army Community Hospital 2 Feb. (Photo Credit: Brandy Ostanik-Thornton) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - “I want you take your hand, place it over your heart and feel that beat,” said Army nurse and U.S. Army Medical Department recruiter, Maj. Jodi Stoafer. That, my friend, is called purpose, compassion and dedication to one of the most prestigious professions known to humankind. Nursing.”

Stoafer spoke virtually Feb. 2 from Kansas City, Mo. to Medical Department Activity – Alaska staff members during a celebration of the Army Nurse Corps’ 120 anniversary. Officially founded in 1901 with the purpose of caring for soldiers on the battlefield and at home, the Army Nurse Corps has used their diverse talents in their united mission to provide selfless service and quality care to Soldiers, family members and other beneficiaries for over a century.

Keeping COVID-19 mitigation strategies in mind, the virtual event, which included MEDDAC-AK staff members from Ft. Wainwright, Ft. Greely and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson centered around the theme, “Diverse in Talent, Unified in Mission.”

Stoafer urged those in attendance to think back to life a year ago and how different it was.

“We were traveling; might have even been PCSing. Life was moving quickly, maybe even chaotic,” said Stoafer. “Until the world stopped. The airborne virus, a pandemic taking over our land and our way of living. For the first time in history we were ordered to stay home.’

However, not everyone could stay home.

“Hospitals were at capacity, nurses were working long, hard hours with very little rest,” said Stoafer. “Nurses and those on the front line worked tirelessly with no end in sight. The year of the front-line worker was upon us. The world thanked us. Our heroes were the ones in scrubs and masks. Our battle scars were the imprinted rings of N-95 masks around our faces. This is the year we are going to tell our children and grandchildren about.”

Stoafer spoke of the mission of Army nurses and the many roles they play in healthcare, especially during a pandemic.

“The mission to care for the sick and dying never let up in this crazy time,” said Stoafer. “The mission continued. Nurses, I know you are tired, pulled in many directions and the struggle is real, my message for you today, on the day we celebrate the Army Nurse Corps, is the message that you matter, the diversity that you brought to the fight is the uniting mission.”

For more information on the Army Nurse Corps, go to http://armynursecorps.amedd.army.mil/.