Laurie Reid has an impressive résumé and credits the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Tuskegee University for her career success. As a registered nurse by trade, Reid has served more than 30 years in the military.
“My mom was a single mom and raised us on her own,” says Reid. “When it came time to pay for college, she had to sell her house to help us. I saw the financial opportunity that came along with the ROTC, so I signed up and never looked back.”
Through the ROTC, Reid received a two-year scholarship, including tuition and the cost of books, in exchange for her commitment to serve four years of active-duty service with the United States Army after graduation. Since she had a degree in nursing, Reid served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps to fulfill her obligation.
From Nurse Corps to U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Reid was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Nurse Corps and served as both a medical/surgical nurse and as a community health nurse, where she focused on preventative medicine.
“I worked all over the country during the 13 years I spent with the Army — at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Fort Sam Houston in Texas, Fort Drum in New York, and Walter Reed Army Hospital in Maryland,” says Reid.
In 1997, Reid resigned from the Army and entered the United States Public Health Service as a Commissioned Corps Officer. According to the U.S. Public Health Service website, Commissioned Corps officers are overseen by the Surgeon General. The Commissioned Corps “… is a diverse team of more than 6,500 highly qualified, public health professionals. Driven by a passion to serve the underserved, these men and women fill essential public health leadership and clinical service roles with the nation’s federal government agencies.”
As a Commissioned Corps officer, Reid worked with the United States Marshals Service to coordinate care for detainees who were awaiting trial. In 2003, Reid transferred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she became a Senior Public Advisor for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD and tuberculosis prevention.
“I have a big sense of pride in serving my country and being able to give back,” says Reid. “I take a lot of pride in having been able to wear my uniforms while I did what I loved.”
Military Veteran Transitioning to Civilian Life
With more than 20 years of service under her belt and the status equivalence of a Colonel, Reid was eligible for retirement in 2016. She spent a year volunteering in her community before joining Right at Home Atlanta as Director of Nursing.
“At Right at Home, I get a chance to share the knowledge I have collected over the years with the agency and continue to help people in a meaningful way,” Reid says. “And the best is to see the look on a client’s face when I connect with them about being a veteran. They get a real kick out of it and love to talk to me about their service.”
In her new position, Reid makes home visits to new clients and puts together initial assessments for their care plans, which she coordinates with the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) whom she manages.
When asked if she has any tips for other veterans who have to make the transition to civilian life, Reid pauses to think before doling out two pieces of advice: “First, I would recommend planning ahead and planning early because the military will encourage you to retire earlier than you would otherwise. And second, if you’re going to go into the military, make sure you develop a skill you can use afterwards. There is no need for snipers in civilian life! Having a skill you can apply out in the civilian world will make it so much easier for you.”