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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guardsman is Here to Serve

Amy Nordquist ST. PAUL, Minn. - "It is the way she treats people. She has a certain demeanor about herself. Very approachable," said Chief Master Sgt. Duke Lang, 133rd Medical Group Superintendent.

As a young woman, Capt. Amy Nordquist started her journey in the Minnesota Air National Guard the same way that most Airmen do. Looking for a challenge, she began her journey as a Senior Airman in the Aeromedical Evacuation Technician career field at the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. What solidified her decision to go into the military was when a high school friend challenged her by saying she couldn't make it through basic training. So Nordquist joined the Minnesota Air National Guard with the determination of proving her friend wrong.

"I saw the school benefits that were available at first. I wanted to join for the shortest time possible with the shortest schooling, get school paid for and then get out of the military," said Nordquist. "It is amazing looking back and seeing the mindset that I had [then], to now wanting a career. Now, it is a piece of me that I couldn't imagine my life without."

Members of the National Guard are frequently referred to as citizen-soldiers or a weekend warriors, meaning they have full-time civilian jobs and serve part-time in the military. Nordquist is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Emergency Room (ER) at two local hospitals. However, her journey into nursing did not start there; it started while she worked on a Medical Oncology Unit. A few years later she moved onto the ER, which was something she had always wanted to do after her deployment to Iraq in 2006.

Nordquist felt comfortable and enjoyed the ER, so it was difficult when three of her leaders encouraged her to move on to the ICU. However, she knew that when one door closes, others often open.

"I never saw myself going to the ICU, I was comfortable where I was at in the ER. All three of the leaders said it was time to move on," Nordquist said as she reflected on this time. "I really trust that they have lead me down the path before and they know which direction that I need to go. I just needed that push out of my confront zone to enter a zone that I was not comfortable."

U.S. Air Force (ret.) Lt. Col. JoEllen Evavold has had the honor of watching Nordquist grow both in the military and in the civilian world. They both deployed together, first to help in the evacuation after Hurricane Katrina, then to Balad Air Base, Iraq, and now they work together at a local hospital. Evavold saw that Nordquist could do more.

"I believed she could impact more people with deeper meaning with her cares and values in an ICU setting. Amy is competent in tasks and complex critical thinking, but more importantly, Amy can look into a patient's eyes and connect with a personal touch," said Evavold. "Her faith and values will support her and her patients' families with mutual fulfillment in the chaos of an ICU."

In addition to the support she provides to patients, Nordquist also makes a lasting impact in her community by volunteering. One group she is best known for volunteering with is the Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Show Team. She can usually be spotted performing impressive aerial stunts or at the top of a pyramid formation proudly waving the American flag. But one particular thing stands out: her love for this country. This is why Nordquist was so adamant about dedicating the show, one August night, to the men and women of the U.S. military so that all the proceeds could go to the Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund.

"It is more than a show; it is a time to honor all those that are currently serving, have served, and most importantly, honoring those that have given their all," said Nordquist. "All those mentioned above have a legacy they are leaving behind in their journey. My heart bursts to be able to serve all them."

At the heart and soul of Capt. Amy Nordquist is the need to serve. She gives back to the military by recognizing other Airmen for their hard work, by volunteering for extra training that ultimately helps her fellow Airmen, and by being the warm, smiling face, greeting Airmen at the Immunization Clinic check-in window. She gives back to her community by organizing events that highlight and recognize the military in the community.

When asked what thoughts she wanted to pass on to the future generations, Nordquist responded, "Remember, it's not all about the journey. More importantly, it's about the legacy you leave behind on that journey."

June 3, 2016
by Tech Sgt. Amy Lovgren
133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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