By Staff Sgt. Thomas Mort, Special Operations Command Europe
STUTTGART, Germany — With the COVID-19 fight kicking into high gear within the Stuttgart garrison military community about a month and a half ago, the Stuttgart Army Medical Clinic team found themselves pushed to the forefront in the fight against the virus.
Among this team of medical warriors is Army Spc. Phillip Corona, a laboratory technician assigned to the Stuttgart Army Medical Clinic. Although he does get jokes about his name from just about everyone at work on a daily basis, he is not related to the virus.
“It would be anyone, it’d be either patients, it’d be co-workers, the command team has gotten in on it,” Corona jokes. “So I get about at least 10 a day, if not more.”
Corona, who arrived in November, helps process patient’s blood samples to test for COVID-19.
“Actually dealing with a specific topic for weeks and months on end is a little different,” Corona explains. “I never had to experience that kind of situation before. Overall I admit it’s interesting just knowing the fact that you work in a lab and everything kind of revolves around testing as of right now. That’s the main means of getting back to work.”
As the team continues to get the job done, there are sometimes challenges that arise.
“I would say the biggest challenge, besides the fact that we can’t travel anywhere, is just understanding the symptoms,” explains Spc. Edwin Susi, physical therapy specialist, assigned to the Stuttgart Army Medical Clinic. “Especially here at the front desk, we gotta know which symptoms to look out for and that way we can keep everybody here safe and direct patients where they need to go.”
The medical team may be getting recognition, but Corona says this is bigger than awards.
“The fancy little medal looks nice and all but knowing the fact that you probably helped someone overcome this virus is more satisfying than any medal you’ll probably get.”