ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, EAST MEDITERANNEAN (BP)–After 13 years in civilian life as a hospital nurse, Christy Kessock of Port Jervis, N.Y., was looking for a change. Looking at the Navy Reserves for the possibility of paying for another degree, Kessock signed up when her children were just 5 and 7. “Three years isn’t that long,” she told her husband.
Fourteen years and one deployment later, Lieutenant Commander Kassock serves as the USS Harry S. Truman’s nurse and critical care ICU nurse when needed. As the nurse for a floating city of 5,000 people, she fortunately doesn’t have to treat many serious injuries, so she assists the training office quite a bit with training in first aid, CPR and answering questions.
“You don’t get the burnout that you can with civilian nursing,” Kassock said of Navy life. “I like the moving, going to new places.”
One of the first moves her family had to make was to Florida, where they found First Baptist Church in Springhill.
“The toughest decision we ever made was to leave New York and move to Florida,” Kassock said. Her husband is disabled and it is up to her to be the family’s breadwinner. The family currently lives in Virginia Beach — a situation Kassock says is ideal for her children, now 19 and 21, her husband and herself.
When not in the medical ward, Kassock can be found taking a women’s Bible study offered on the ship, or teaching First Place, a health and weight-loss program guided by Scripture. Mostly females attend the program as a time to visit and fellowship in addition to talking about health and nutrition.
Kassock admits it is easier to be gone now that her children are older. E-mail is a favorite way to talk.
“I just got a message the other day from my daughter that said the bombing had started,” Kassock recounted. “And then she said, ‘But I guess you knew that.'”
The nurse has plenty of chances to play a mothering role to the men on ship. Most are only 19 or 20 years old and their deployments away from home can be tough.
Kassock’s trust in God is reflected in her life verse from Proverbs 3:6 [ASV] “In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy paths.”
“I just give Christ my life,” Kassock said. “He puts me where he wants me to be. I just try to grow and learn from where I am at the time.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SMALLPOX CHECKS.