FALLS CHURCH, Va. - When Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle established the quarterly theme “Army Medicine: Our People Create the Standard of Excellence,’ it was a easy choice to focus on our Fort Stewart Soldier Recovery Unit’s Dr. Yvonne Larochelle.
Dr. Yvonne Larochelle, Adaptive Reconditioning Lead at the Fort Stewart, Georgia, SRU and Battalion Physical Therapist knew she wanted to work in medicine since junior high. “I felt a strong pull to do this my whole life because I love physical fitness and medicine. It’s my passion and I’ve always worked hard to achieve.”
“Doc Larochelle,” as she is called, has nine years of experience working in federal service and says it was an easy choice to serve this way. “My love for the armed services started with my father who was a retired Marine and my husband just retired two years ago as an Army Officer. I have a heart for the military for sure.”
She and her husband were stationed in Texas when she learned of an opening at Fort Stewart. “When my husband retired, I said it’s my turn to decide where I work and where I go - when I saw the opening in Georgia, I knew that’s exactly where I wanted to be.”
The mission and vision of the Army’s People Strategy are clear, the Total Army will acquire, develop, employ, and retain the diversity of military and civilian talent needed to achieve Total Army Readiness. Larochelle takes that mission seriously.
“I make sure our programs are conducive to our Soldiers’ needs and that means having an ear open to hear what they need so I can put those elements into our programs. I am respectful of leadership. I see their vision and try to make that happen and at the same time I take all my lessons learned throughout my myriad of experiences within the military to see how best I can serve the Soldier sitting in front of me. This is how I help the Army with Readiness.”
There are 159 Soldiers in the Fort Stewart SRU this summer, and the good Doc says she makes it her business to ensure these Soldiers stay active and moving no matter what direction they are headed. “I always remind them whether you are remaining in the Army, and you are preparing for the next fight or if you are exiting and going to the civilian sector, you’ve still got to be ready.”
When she first meets with Soldiers, the talk about being ready begins at their evaluation. “I tell them, this program is for you. I also stress that the Adaptive Reconditioning Program is a requirement for you as a Soldier here at the SRU. The reason it’s a requirement is because it prepares you for the future. Choose wisely. Take advantage of this time because it’s the only time that you will have that the Army is going to pay you to go to the Aquarium, for example, to work on fitness, mental fitness, spiritual fitness. Take this time that you have seriously because you will never have it again in your life.”
The team at the Fort Stewart SRU make the time to ensure all time is time well spent.
“We come together as a team, we figure out what’s working, what’s not working, The Soldier Recovery Unit and in particular the Adaptive Reconditioning, is not a stagnant program and it truly should reflect the needs of the Soldiers that are present at that point in time. If it’s not, then we’re not doing what we should be doing and we’re not reaching that excellence mark. We reach it here at Fort Stewart.”