By John B. SnyderNovember 2, 2009
Long before the fires in a fuze manufacturing building in 1847 that killed an elderly man and a boy Aca,!aEURc both Arsenal employees Aca,!aEURc the Arsenal workforce knew their work to support the nation's warfighters was nothing short of perilous. Therefore, the value of individuals with unique skills, such as a military doctor or nurse, was exponentially raised and their skills were essential to maintaining the morale and welfare of the workforce.
In fact, in the first issue of the Arsenal newsletter, The Salvo, in 1958, the person first recognized as the Arsenal Personality of the Month was the head nurse by the name of Regina Millington.
Although a lot has changed since the establishment of the Arsenal in 1813, the one thing that has not changed in nearly 200 years of operation is the value of those who provide the workforce with medical support.
The Arsenal is not your grandparent's Arsenal when nearly 10,000 folks worked here and were able to get health care from the post hospital.
According to Stephanie Nebolini, Occupational Health Nurse Supervisor at the Arsenal, the post, as recently as 1998, had a robust medical treatment facility that provided care to Soldiers, Civilian workers, family members, and to military retirees.
"The treatment facility even provided infant, obstetrics, and gynecology care," Stephanie said. "The only care we didn't provide was dental."
Stephanie, who has provided medical support to thousands of Arsenal workers during her 24 years here, said it has been a little sad to see health care go from a robust, full-service operation to an occupational health care clinic with more of a preventive role versus a treatment role.
Laura Garramone, who has been a nurse at the Arsenal since 1990, said the Arsenal's clinic and staff of three is managed by Fort Drum and not by the Arsenal commander.
"Although our chain of command resides at Fort Drum, we are well integrated into the Arsenal's other force protection efforts, such as Industrial Hygiene and Safety," Laura said.
Through this integration and mutual support with other force protection activities, Laura said that she, Stephanie, and administrative specialist, Robin Kratky, provide support to more than 800 Arsenal employees through such preventative programs as hearing tests, blood tests, eye exams, and influenza shots.
Stephanie also highlighted the clinic works closely with the New York National Guard.
"We provide the National Guard space in our clinic and they support us by conducting physicals," Stephanie said.
The clinic's main effort during this fall season is providing flu shots to the workforce. These shots are for the standard flu virus and not yet for the H1N1 virus.
"We remain hopeful that as more H1N1 serum is manufactured that we will get an adequate supply for the Arsenal workforce," Stephanie said.
Although their scope of responsibility may have been diminished through the years, we should not forget that Stephanie and Laura are board-certified nurses who collectively have provided more than 42 years of service to the workforce. Their value to the Arsenal is exponentially raised due to their unique skills that promote the health and welfare of the workforce.