BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
When working in the 460th Medical Group on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day common ailments that affect military members and their families. However there are some opportunities that allow for them to live the Air Force medical service motto of “Trusted Care, Anywhere.”
Capt. Bruce Abbott, 460th MDG pharmacy element chief, and Staff Sgt. Danielle Garcia, 460th MDG pharmacy technician, received one of those opportunities when they were deployed to the Dominican Republic as part of a Medical Readiness Training Exercise mission.
“This is my second time participating in a MEDRETE; it is an amazing experience,” said Garcia. “I absolutely love helping people, it brings joy to my heart. I am so blessed to have received these wonderful opportunities.”
Garcia and Abbott worked with both Active Duty Air Force members and local-nation providers, and brought back experiences that will impact their work with Team Buckley.
“The Dominican Republic was an amazing experience for both Staff Sgt. Garcia and myself,” said Abbott. “We learned a great deal about leadership and team cohesion that will serve us well for the rest of our careers.”
While in the Dominican Republic, they saw over 5,700 patients and filled over 8,000 prescriptions over the eight days they were there.
During their time on deployment, Abbott and Garcia worked to dispense medications, attend to cough, cold and headache patients, and triage patients for providers to see the ones with the more advanced issues.
“The biggest change we made was giving the providers the fast moving medications for them to dispense leaving the pharmacy with medications that needed to be mixed and dispensed with additional counseling,” said Abbott. “That change alone moved our wait time to from two and a half hours to less than two minutes.”
Abbott and Garcia impacted the local Dominicans, but their personal lives were impacted by the culture change they experienced.
“Most of the population has never been able to see a doctor before in their life,” said Garcia. “Having us there to provide optometry, women's health, family health, dermatology, dental care, and medication for free was such a wonderful feeling. So many people take things for granted, and are ungrateful for the blessings that they have, while others have nothing.”