Capt. Parker Thompson doesn’t have his face printed on t-shirts nor does he have his own animated television series. He doesn’t star in a film franchise or own a record label. However, some may call him a hero because he is fighting against the spread of COVID-19.
Thompson, from Tremont, Ill. has been in charge of the vaccination clinic at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital and a manager of vaccination doses for Fort Leonard Wood’s mass vaccination events.
National Doctors’ Day is March 30, a day to celebrate and to recognize the incredible work of physicians and their contributions to the communities in which they live. At the GLWACH, doctors are celebrated often.
Thompson said he is proud of what the team at GLWACH does to protect the Fort Leonard Wood community.
“I am especially proud of the team I get to lead,” he said. “Their dedication to the mission and their indomitable attitude is admirable.”
Thompson added, Fort Leonard Wood was able to progress quickly through high-risk recipients and eligible beneficiaries due to their teamwork.
“I’m proud of how quickly we have moved through the tiers,” he said. “We started vaccinating tier two—or phase 2, healthy population—on Feb. 5, which, as far as I know, was the earliest of any place in the entire country (military or civilian).”
With the fight against COVID-19 lasting about one year, Thompson said he sees the exhaustion in healthcare workers here.
Thompson said he remains optimistic and warns we are not out of the fight against the virus.
“I fear the biggest obstacle is ahead of us, though,” he said. “That’s one reason it’s so important to quickly vaccinate as many people as we can to delay the spread.”
When Thompson isn’t placing shots in arms to prevent COVID-19, he is a pediatrician and a father. He said being a dad has made him a better caregiver. Last month, he and his wife welcomed their third child.
“I love pediatrics for the obvious reason: the kids,” he said. “But I also enjoy working with the parents to help set the stage for their child’s future health, which is really rewarding for me.”
Thompson said after COVID-19 is not a problem anymore, he hopes the ability to show grace and charity improves.
“Remembering what it was like during the pandemic can help us to be more understanding,” he said.
Thompson added it’s less about “where” you are and more about “who” you are with that’s important.
Thompson said he has a long family line of military service, so he is familiar with teamwork. He hopes people here always remember him for his positive attitude.