Racheal Weir: Veteran Care Packages
Racheal Weir is a current scribe and active volunteer within the military community. As she had shared, ScribeAmerica has continuously paid homage to those who have served for our country, as our very own Founder, Dr. Michael Murphy, was an Army Ranger for the 1st Ranger Battalion in Savannah, Georgia. In early April of 2017, she had challenged members of the ScribeAmerica community to come together and create 5 care packages per month for troop members who are currently deployed. With enthusiasm and devotion, team members had created 100 care packages just less than 2 months later. Here, through her selfless volunteering, we recognize Racheal’s patriotism and generous adherence to all who have put our country first.
To start this spotlight interview off, are you able to provide us with some background information on yourself? (Where you’re from/where you scribe, your educational background in the medical field, how you got into becoming a scribe, etc.)
I am a Wichita State University graduate with a degree in Anthropology with a focus on biological and forensic anthropology, although I am very interested in cultural anthropology as well. While in college, I worked for Via Christi Health in Wichita, KS as a pharmacy technician in the surgery pharmacy. I began working with ScribeAmerica in the Via Christi Emergency Departments to gain more experience in a clinical setting because I wanted to feel more prepared before applying to medical school. Since starting with ScribeAmerica, I have worked closely with many different specialties across the country.
What initially sparked your interest in deciding to send out care packages?
After speaking with my sister about the care packages she received during her time in Germany and during deployments, I thought about how great it would be for any soldier to receive a little part of home out of the blue.
What was the underlying motivation behind starting this program?
My family would send care packages to my sister and other deployed soldiers. When someone isn’t around, you can feel their missing presence, but you don’t always think about them all of the time. Since my sister and I have grown up, we have increasingly become more independent, but her absence is still felt strongly during family holidays.
I know you mentioned your sister, Brandi, is a military police officer in the Army who has been deployed several times. How has this impacted your interest in the military and giving back to veterans?
Since my sister has joined the military, I have learned so much about their structure and culture. The direct link that I have through my sister brings veteran issues closer to home. I approach issues that involve veterans differently and have a greater respect for those that serve. There is a fantastic Pew Research Center study that highlights this perfectly. While most Americans are proud of those that serve, only 65% of people who have a family member in service helped someone in the military or their family whereas, only 41% of those who do not have a family member in service have helped someone in the military or their families. Even thanking someone for their service has big discrepancies in those who are related to service members versus those who are not: 81% vs 67% (https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/11/23/the-military-civilian-gap-fewer-family-connections/).
What is a day’s worth of work like when creating these care packages? (i.e., what are the steps you and your team members have to take to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently?)
For any new project, having an understanding of the goals will be crucial and impact how you set up your packages. You might have a goal to send 10 large packages to certain soldiers or send 100 small thank you packages to an entire unit. This is where partnering with a local Blue Star Mothers group can be really beneficial. They know which soldiers are deployed and how to send packages. Once you have a goal for the packages, team involvement is challenging, but rewarding. I gave my team several different options to participate and allowed them to donate either money or supplies. If there isn’t enough supplies, you can use the money to purchase more, but more importantly, you can use that monetary donation for shipping costs! Luckily, the post office does offer a discount on shipping to an APO address, but it will still be pricy. I used a shared spreadsheet amongst my team so that each participant could see who was bringing what. This made sure that we didn’t end up with 400 packages of hot sauce. We set a date, time, and location to bring all of our supplies to and made up the small baggies which were later put into boxes for shipping. We collected snack packages, candies, and activities to do such as word searches and outdoor games.
Ultimately, transcending beyond the number of care packages that are sent out, what do you hope to accomplish/what is your mission through this work?
I want to bring awareness that there are sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters who are out there serving our country and sacrificing on our behalf. These people have made a commitment to us and many times they receive very little in return. I know that a “Thank you for your service” goes a long way, but taking the time to go out of your way and bring something to someone you don’t know can not only brighten someone’s day, but change their life.
How has this impacted your experience with ScribeAmerica?
I am thankful to work for a company that encourages and embraces their employees’ ideas. I think that if fosters a sense of pride for our company, but also increases our awareness of issues that might not have otherwise come to our attention. There are so many great causes that we can personally donate money to, but to have a tangible effect on someone else is priceless.