EMT-A and SSC, AMR Oklahoma City (A Global Medical Response Solution)
Richelle Treece began her military career at the ripe age of 17, unsure of what her future would hold. The enormity of the brotherhood she had joined did not hit her until she graduated from basic training. At that point, she knew joining the military had been a wise decision.
She began her military career as an Air Traffic Controller. After spending several years in the Air Force, Richelle transitioned to the Oklahoma Army National Guard where she decided to attend Officer Candidate School and earn her commission. She initially qualified as a Logistics Officer, but also had the skill identifier for Adjutant General’s Corps as a human resource specialist. She subsequently served as a Commander, EO/EEO advisor, Officer, Personnel Manager and most recently as a staff officer on the Joint Task Force.
“The opportunities the military opened up for me I could never experience as a civilian,” Richelle said. “I’ve been launched off an aircraft carrier, flown in an F-16, controlled strike packages of 100 aircraft at the beginning of Desert Storm and had the honor of being the first female Commander of the Officer Candidate School program in Oklahoma.”
“I’d say the experience I found the most humbling didn’t happen when I was on duty,” Richelle adds. “I was in Israel visiting the Wailing Wall during my last deployment to the Sinai. I was getting ready to leave when I noticed a small commotion ahead of me. There was an elderly woman with a young adult male who I took to be her grandson and they were pleading with one of the armed soldiers. I don’t know where they were from or what language they were speaking, but I noticed the elderly woman was holding on to her grandson’s arm silently crying. The Wailing Wall is divided into two sections: one for men and one for women, and no man is allowed on the female side and no female is allowed on the male side. From what I could tell, the woman would not be able to make the walk without her grandson’s help. I approached the group and found a way to non-verbally convey that I would take her down to the wall. I helped her to the wall and stood back while she prayed and put her tiny slip of paper into the cracks of the wall. Her passion and belief was palpable; the experience was very humbling.”
Today, Richelle’s humility is also evident in her work as an Advanced EMT. “I’ve worked in this system for 16 years and I stay because, unlike my other roles, I’m not in charge of anything but focused on taking care of my truck and taking care of my partner,” Richelle said. “I know it’s a simplistic way to look at it, because the work we do is so much more than that, but I feel if I do my job well, anticipate what my partner will need and be the best driver, then I’m doing what I can do to put my truck in the optimal place to do our part and help people.”
Richelle feels the military provided her with a foundation to handle situations with a sense of urgency, but not a sense of panic. “The “battle drill” background the military provides transitions to the calls we run,” Richelle adds. “Having that base line plan of action at least gets you started.”
Being a military veteran has also helped her connect with some of AMR’s veteran patients; especially if they are worried, confused or just obstinate. PTSD is real, and she can relate. Richelle can use terms and lingo veterans know and make a connection to help them feel comfortable enough to let the crew take care of them. Richelle admits to carrying her green Army issue whistle in her medic bag. “I know it’s goofy, but you never know when you may need a whistle,” she said. It helps her connect with veterans and put them more at ease. She tells the story about Army lieutenants and getting lost. “There’s a running joke that lieutenants should always have their whistles, so if they get lost in the woods they can sit down and blow their whistle until someone finds them,” Richelle explains. “Even though I’m now a major, I’ll tell the veteran that I’m driving not to worry, if I get lost I’ll just pull over and blow my whistle until someone comes to help us.”
Richelle is still on active duty in the Army National Guard in addition to her role with AMR. She is dedicated to serving others in her country and her local community.