JOPLIN, Mo. — Retiring after 20 years in the military often leads to a change in career – sometimes something similar, sometimes a big change.
Action 12’s Gretchen Bolander introduces us to Lisa Blythe in her special report Career 2.0.
85 or 90 degrees may sound pretty hot right now.
But how about 135… for 10 days straight?
That was just one small part of Lisa Blythe’s life in the Air Force.
Lisa Blythe, Volunteer Coordinator, said, “Ten years ago i was out in the middle of the desert, working, eating, sleeping out of tents.”
Major Blythe spent time in both Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, covering a wide range of responsibilities.
“It just depended on which assignment I was in. I did everything from being the financial officer to patient administration to medical readiness. And then I deployed to the desert two different times. One time I was the administrator of an air medical staging facility which meant that we would gather all the patients and house them until they went ahead and got flown back to Germany.”
But maybe her favorite posting was South Korea.
“I was there for a year. We were all there unaccompanied due to the threat to families. It was just like being back in college. Except we did have money and we didn’t have cars.”
She retired in 2010, coming back home to Joplin.
She enjoyed retirement and volunteering until 2019.
That’s when her volunteering became her latest career as Volunteer Coordinator for Mercy Hospital Joplin.
“I’m more service oriented after being in the Air Force. I’ve got so many volunteers here that just want to work to make the patients and co-workers lives easier.”
Blythe is in charge of 214 volunteers in a schedule that has gone through more than one major overhaul during the coronavirus pandemic.
The career flexibility she learned in the military has served her well and is something she thinks would benefit everyone in the workforce.
“Just follow your passion – I was very passionate about being in the Air Force, about serving my country and taking care of our men and women that were fighting every day and yet I like to think that I’m just as passionate here taking care of my volunteers.”
Blythe adds she sees her experience in the Air Force as a great background for taking care of volunteers and patients in the Four States.