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NEWS | Nov. 18, 2021

Returning the Favor: A Helping Hand for 87th MDG

By Daniel Barney Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

On a Wednesday afternoon at the 87th Medical Group facility on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Devon Wilson, 87th Medical Support Squadron member of patient flight and medical readiness, checks his work schedule to ensure all mission objectives meet their deadlines before the end of the day. Though dealing with a heavy workload, Wilson is dedicated to a mission he acquired through unexpected circumstances.

Before working at the 87th MDG facility, Wilson was at the 482nd Attack Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. Wilson explains his journey on making the transition into the medical field.

“I was at my first duty station, after recent completion of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) training to operate drones for deployment, when I noticed that a lump was developing on my neck,” said Wilson. “I immediately went to the hospital to see what type of symptom that I was suffering from.”

Wilson found out from his physician that he was diagnosed with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a rare case of cancer towards lymph cells. He received orders to Joint Base MDL for cancer treatment in September 2020.

“During my stay at Joint Base MDL, I had to go through six weeks of proton therapy radiation at Penn Medicine for cancer treatment,” said Wilson. “After the treatment I was declared cancer-free, as of February 2021, which was a sigh of relief for me.”

Wilson added that receiving weeks of cancer treatment has been an interesting experience and is thankful for the 87th MDG’s involvement during the process. He was excited to learn there was a way to repay them for their service.

“The 87th MDG developed a program for able-bodied patients who would like to seek employment within the facility,” said Wilson. “I was fortunate to join the crew and did not hesitate to take them up on that opportunity.”

While working with the 87th MDG, Wilson contributed his time and dedication to managing the medical control center during Operation Allies Refuge. The medical control center communicates with medical and non-medical group entities to provide first-aid assistance to Afghan refugees in need.

“Despite working such long shifts, it has been a fun and exciting experience in helping out the refugees,” said Wilson. “It was an uncanny feeling, going from a patient to a caregiver, until I realized I was working with such a talented team. Their determination in completing various missions has been outstanding, and they bring such a familial vibe into the work environment.”

As Wilson complimented the 87th MDG staff for their teamwork, work management, and effort, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Lynn Lillington, 87th MDG medical readiness flight chief, shared her experience working with him.

“Throughout thirteen years of my military career, I have never seen someone with such a high level of involvement in managing the medical control center like Lt. Wilson, and then add the COVID hotline,” said Lillington. “His fearlessness of taking on new challenges and displaying great leadership towards the staff are what make Lt. Wilson such a great asset to our facility!”

Lillington concluded that Wilson will be leaving with-in the month to continue along the RPA mission. She added that Wilson’s presence will surely be missed, and he will always be welcome back into the 87th MDG family.