Oct 15, 2021
She’s getting ready for her first overseas deployment
Tomeka Thomas comes from a military family. “It started with my grandfather in the Air Force,” says the Technical Sergeant (TSGT/E-6). “My mom growing up was fascinated with what he did. She met my dad in the National Guard.” All three served more than 20 years in their military roles. Today both Tomeka and her brother serve in the West Virginia Air National Guard.
Tomeka serves as a Health Services Management Craftsman at the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, WV. Her normal duties include patient management functions such as managing health records, coordinating patient-related correspondence, and handling special orders such as aeromedical evacuations. She has also supported disaster relief missions including the Clendenin Flood in 2016 and Super Snow Storm Sandy in 2012.
Learning on the ground
“I remember walking into one house, and the snow was higher than me,” she says. “People didn’t have power. We were doing medical checks and delivering food and water.” Working in a small team, without a lot of guidance or reliable communications, “you’re figuring things out as you go along,” says Tomeka. “You learn how to adapt and overcome difficult situations. It’s made me a more confident and well-rounded person.”
She has discovered that her medical administrative skills, attention to details, and disciplined approach transfer well to her civilian role as a project support analyst for U.S. Gas Projects. “Running a mission is very similar to running a project – instead of doctors and nurses, I work with project managers.”
"You learn how to adapt and overcome difficult situations.
It’s made me a more confident and well-rounded person."
— Tomeka Thomas
Being part of something bigger
In January 2019, Tomeka will take a military leave from TransCanada for her first overseas deployment, to the Ramstein U.S. Air Force Base in Germany. For seven months, she’ll be part of an aeromedical evacuation squadron, responsible for arranging transport back to the U.S. for patients arriving from theatres such as Afghanistan. “I’ll be putting my training to use on a bigger mission,” she says.
With three young kids and two jobs, how does she fit it all in? “I rely on a great support system – my husband, my mom, and the people I work with at the company offer 100 per cent support,” she says. “I hope my kids see that I’m doing something important that helps others. It’s a great chance to be part of something bigger than yourself.”