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We Are Here to Serve

U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist, center, is held up by Andy Nordquist, right, and Chris Sluis, left, while performing a maneuver called “Trios” at the National competition with the Twin Cities River Rats Show Team in Loves Park, IL. Every year, Nordquist organizes a military appreciation night, which proceeds go to the Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund.(Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist, center, is held up by Andy Nordquist, right, and Chris Sluis, left, while performing a maneuver called “Trios” at the National competition with the Twin Cities River Rats Show Team in Loves Park, IL. Every year, Nordquist organizes a military appreciation night, which proceeds go to the Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund.(Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jessica Zetah, left, receives patient information from Capt. Amy Nordquist at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis., July 22, 2015. Zetch and Nordquist are taking part in the annual PATRIOT Exercise, a domestic operations disaster-response training exercise conducted by National Guard units working with state and local emergency management agencies and first responders. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/Released)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jessica Zetah, left, receives patient information from Capt. Amy Nordquist at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis., July 22, 2015. Zetch and Nordquist are taking part in the annual PATRIOT Exercise, a domestic operations disaster-response training exercise conducted by National Guard units working with state and local emergency management agencies and first responders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist, right, poses for a photograph with Bonnie Starks. Nordquist and Starks work together at a local hospital.
 (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist, right, poses for a photograph with Bonnie Starks. Nordquist and Starks work together at a local hospital. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist, 133rd Medical Group, fills a needle with a vaccine in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 23, 2016. The vaccine is a mandatory requirement for the Airmen in order to stay healthy and prevent sickness. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist, 133rd Medical Group, fills a needle with a vaccine in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 23, 2016. The vaccine is a mandatory requirement for the Airmen in order to stay healthy and prevent sickness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/Released)

Saint Paul- Minn.- -- Some Airmen have found going to the Immunization Clinic to be an unnerving event. As uncomfortable as it might be, Airmen can always count on being warmly greeted at the 133rd Medical Group Immunization Clinic check-in window by U.S. Air Force Capt. Amy Nordquist. The heartfelt smile on her face helps to ease any uncertainties.

"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. "Once in a while, someone does have a reaction. Just knowing that the person giving [me] the shot, is the person that can take care of me."

As a young woman, Capt. 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 Capt. 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 Capt. 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 civilian soldiers or a weekend warriors, meaning they have full-time civilian jobs and serve part-time in the military. Capt. Nordquist is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.) and the Emergency Room (E.R.) 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 E.R., which was something she had always wanted to do after her deployment to Iraq in 2006.

Capt. Nordquist felt comfortable and enjoyed the E.R., so it was difficult when three of her admirable leaders encouraged her to move on to the I.C.U. However, she knew that when one door closes, others often open.

"I never saw myself going to the I.C.U. I was comfortable where I was at in the E.R. All three of the leaders said it was time to move on," Capt 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 Capt. 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. Lt. Col. Evavold saw that Capt. Nordquist could do more.

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

Capt. Nordquist also makes a lasting impact in her community by volunteering. One group she is best known for volunteering with is with 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 Capt. 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 Capt. 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, Capt.
Nordquist responded, "Remember, it's not all about the journey. More importantly, it's about the legacy you leave behind on that journey."