In 1998, Elaine Willbanks, RN, joined the United States Navy Reserve. As a pediatric home care nurse and Navy reservist, Elaine was no stranger to sacrificing herself to help others. “To be honest,” Elaine shares, “being deployed after 9/11 was scary. But I knew my training as a nurse and in the reserves had equipped me to serve well. I was proud to be prepared to serve.”
Elaine didn’t hesitate to face the new challenge of active duty. But she hated to leave her patients behind. Fortunately, she had help with the transition and the goodbyes.
“My Aveanna office team supported me from the moment I was called up for active duty,” Elaine remembers. “They immediately re-staffed my cases. They put a letter of recognition up in the office. And they sent letters to all of my little patients’ families, explaining what I was doing and why I couldn’t be with them at the time. They made leaving a little bit easier on me.”
Elaine’s patients couldn’t help but miss her kindness, care, and selflessness. But they were also incredibly proud of her. “One of my patients hung the letter about my service up on her bedroom wall,” Elaine says. “And she kept that letter up on her wall until I came home.”
Elaine served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman until 2008. Then she came right back to her Aveanna patients to continue her mission of service. In whatever situation she finds herself, Elaine remains ready and willing to sacrifice. She puts others first. She makes us proud to call her one of our own.
Thank you for your service, Elaine, and Happy Veterans Day to you and every veteran for all that you do for our country and our families.