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A mission to provide aid and therapy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman India Meserve, a physical therapy technician with the 509th Medical Operations Squadron, joined the Air Force to experience different views and broaden her horizons.

As a physical therapy technician, her job is to help provide evidence-based care to reduce pain and restore function following musculoskeletal injuries or orthopedic surgery for Whiteman's active-duty population.

"I like being able to see patients grow and see them help themselves," Meserve said. "You can have a patient that you've seen two years ago who will come in just to say 'hi.' And he still does the exercises and is thankful we helped him. When you see that you've helped a patient and they still do exercises you've taught them so long ago, it's a good feeling."

For Meserve, seeing all of the different types of injuries and being able to work on new and different treatment plans is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. In fact, Meserve said she enjoys working in the physical therapy field so much that she would like to continue work in that field after her time in the Air Force expires.

"I love sports, so I've always been interested in athletes and athletic activities," Meserve said. "I've always wanted to either be an athlete or work with them. Physical therapy was a great opportunity for me to carry that dream out."

Another reason for pursuing a career in physical therapy was the joy Meserve finds in helping people.

"You're working with people a couple of times a week and you get to build rapport with them and see them get better," Meserve said.

This part of the job differs from that of technicians in many other medical fields, who get to help patients, but do not get an opportunity to see their progress, Meserve said.

Meserve is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in exercise science in an effort to follow her dream of working in the physical therapy career field. She is nearly halfway finished with her degree.

"I'm almost at the equivalent of a junior," Meserve said. "It feels great, but when I look at my friends from high school, most of them are either graduated from college or they're seniors. But then I think about how I've also had a full-time job for more than four years while they're still in college."

In addition to pursuing a bachelor's degree, Meserve is almost done with her Community College of the Air Force degree. She only has one class left before she will be completely finished.

"I'd say the biggest reason why I joined the Air Force was for education," Meserve said. "It's a pretty good incentive."

To keep her mind clear, Meserve also spends a great deal of her off-duty time working out in the gym.

"The gym is really helpful because if I'm stressed then I can put all of that energy into working out, which allows me to clear my head," Meserve said. "I also work out to stay healthy and fit."

In addition to working out and pursuing her education, Meserve also spends a lot of time doing volunteer work. She is currently the booster club president for the 509th Medical Group.

"I like to keep my mind busy," Meserve said. "It's better to go out and volunteer than to just sit at home because you're actively engaged if you're helping your community or the people around you."

In addition to being the MDG booster club president, Meserve is also a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator victim advocate, a volunteer child monitor and was a key volunteer to raising money towards this year's Special Olympics, said Tech. Sgt. Lizmarie Linares, 509th MDOS NCO in charge of physical therapy.

"Meserve always goes above and beyond in all that she does," Linares said. "She is pretty much the heart and soul of this clinic. She is a great person with a great personality."

Whether she is helping a patient during a physical therapy session, working on college course work or on the grindstone in the gym, Meserve is always driving and pushing herself until she feels a sense of accomplishment.

"If you're just kind of gliding through life or you're on coast the whole time, you're not really doing anything because you're just kind of moving," Meserve said. "However, if you actively engage in your life and you push back when life pushes you, it makes you feel more fulfilled."