BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Medical staff in the military have an important role in keeping troops healthy and fit to fight. However there are times when medical positions help our troops in other ways.
Airman 1st Class Sarah Atamian, 460th Medical Group flight medicine medical technician, uses her current position as an active duty member on Buckley Air Force Base to prepare herself for what she believes she is meant to do.
Atamian hopes to attend Harvard University, receive a master’s degree in divinity and become a chaplain in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“As I witnessed Sarah growing up, I always suspected that she might be headed toward ministry after gaining some life experience, so I wasn't surprised when she wrote to tell me that she hopes to become a Chaplain,” said Reverend Carol Rosine, Atamian’s childhood reverend. “I was in the medical field before starting my path to ministry, so I know firsthand how the listening skills, compassion, and the ability to relate to all kinds of people translate into ministry.”
Some of the tools used in the medical field when dealing with patients include listening, kindness and understanding, which also translates into being a chaplain. Atamian has learned numerous responsibilities from her job as a medical technician that will be beneficial as she continues to serve others, but in a different capacity.
“Atamian's current job requires one-on-one interactions with patients and medical staff,” said Chaplain Jim Bridgham, 140th Wing chaplain. “These connections develop and refine a number of skills, but especially empathy, which is vital to have as a caregiver. Chaplains interact with individuals at a deep level, joining them in their experiences. This level of interaction creates the best possible situation for us to assist them through personal and professional challenges. A caregiver must be able to enter the other person's experience, while also establishing a degree of separation. Atamian's experiences in medical are definitely transferrable, and will help her in many ways as a chaplain.”
The care that Atamian provides to her others doesn’t stop when she leaves the clinic. She dedicates time to helping her fellow service members that live in the dorm as well.
“She does an excellent job in her professional role but, also dedicates significant time to helping her fellow Airmen,” said Bridgham. “With the Dorm Council, she has volunteered extensively, supporting events in the Satellite (Airman Ministry Center) and events in and out of the dorm. These events have raised morale and created community. Her dedication to service and supporting Airmen is what will propel her in the chaplaincy.”
Through her dedication to helping others and hoping to improve their lives, Atamian has made an impact on those around her and they believe she will continue to positively influence her peers.
“Those needing pastoral care and guidance would be fortunate to have her,” said Rosine.
The path that Atamian has chosen, including becoming an active duty Air Force medical technician, has just begun. She believes that she can learn as much from others as they can learn from her.
“Everyone has the capability to be a good person and if I can just show one person the good in themselves that they can’t see or help someone move on from something holding them back, that’s my goal,” said Atamian. “That’s all I want. I want to show people that they are as good as I believe they are."
Atamian will continue to learn and provide help to others throughout her journey, whether it’s as a medical technician or as a chaplain. However becoming a chaplain isn’t the end of Atamian’s goals, she hopes to continually progress and grow as an individual.
“Everything I’ve done has been an equal part of my journey and who I am,” said Atamian. “Being a chaplain isn’t the end all for me, it’s just another part of my journey and something I want to experience.”