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NEWS | Sept. 17, 2020

Louisiana nurse practitioner realizes dream to serve in U.S. Army; supports federal COVID response in Texas on her first mobilization

By Col. Meritt Phillips Army Reserve Medical Command

“I dreamed of being in the Army since 5th grade,” said U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Emily Stansbury. “Years later when an Army recruiter came to my nurse practitioner graduating class and told us the benefits and need for nurse practitioners, I joined that day.”

An alumna of the University of Mississippi Medical Center nurse practitioner program in Jackson, Stansbury is one of more than 1,000 Army Reserve medical professionals that have answered the nation’s call for assistance with COVID-19 since March. The Soldiers are part of the Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s whole-of-America response to the pandemic.

“This is my first mobilization, being called to serve the American people during the COVID-19 pandemic is an honor,” said Stansbury.

Mobilized in late July, she is a member of an 85-person team of doctors, nurses, combat medics, respiratory therapists, and other specialized personnel that expand the capacity of care that civilian medial facilities can offer their community. They are titled Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces.

Stansbury, a family nurse practitioner, is part of UAMTF - 7452, assigned to support DHR in Edinburg, Texas.

“The staff and employees of DHR were very happy to see us when we first came,” she explained. “They definitely needed support from the long hours they had been working from the massive overload of COVID-19 positive patients needing hospitalization.”

A resident of Rayville, Louisiana, Stansbury traditionally serves as a surgery nurse practitioner at Richardson Medical Center, also in Rayville.

“When I left my civilian job, we had a few patients admitted with COVID-19 and our emergency room had been busy with patients with COVID-19 symptoms,” she said.

Stansbury was eager recognize the many employers, like her own, that have supported the Soldiers on her team.

“Each Soldier left a job that had to be filled by the staff we left behind,” she said. “Without them covering our jobs at home, like the medical staff in my rural hometown of Rayville, we could not complete our mission.”.

“They are our hometown heroes. We love them, and salute them for also serving the American people at home and supporting each and every Soldier in the task force.”

Stansbury, who has been married to her husband Bill for 28 years, recognized the support he has provided for her career, both civilian and military.

“My husband has been very supportive of my choice to join the Army,” she said. “He is the force behind me; helping my dreams come true.”

Additionally, Stansbury shares the profession of medicine with their children.

The Stansbury’s two sons, Will and Nate, are both currently in medical school.

“Since both my sons are medical students, they love to hear the support I am able to give to this area.”

The mobilization has offered her the opportunity to serve in the same community as one her children. Stansbury’s oldest son, Will, is currently in McAllen, Texas for his clinical rotations.

“I was certainly surprised when I was told that I would be there for the mobilization,” said Stansbury.

“It was not a town we knew about until Will started his medical school clinical rotations,” she added. “Now being mobilized here, this area has definitely left a footprint on our hearts.”

In total, U.S. Northern Command has assigned approximately 590 military medical and support personnel from the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy in support of the whole-of-America COVID response in Texas.

As Stansbury and the other members of UAMTF – 7452 move toward completion of their mission, she reflected on her experience.

“Being mobilized to the Rio Grande Valley has been a very humbling experience. Our task force came together as a team to give everything we had to aide in the crisis. I hope the people of Edinburg know we gave our all and that it was a privilege to serve them.”