JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. –
U.S. Air Force medical technicians and civilian staff have faced unprecedented challenges as they've remained on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an effort to help maintain the mental well-being of the medical staff, the 87th Medical Group teamed up with the Community Action Team (CAT) to establish a recharge room in the medical center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The CAT at JB MDL is in charge of developing and implementing community outreach and prevention programs.
The recharge room was opened up to members of the 87th MDG during a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 24, 2022. The Red Cross partnered with the 87th MDG and donated two VR headsets installed with meditation software. The recharge room also contains ambient natural sounds, furniture, massage chairs and mood lights.
Rebecca Rhodes, health promotion director at JB MDL, played a critical role in bringing the recharge room into fruition after noticing the stress COVID-19 placed on the 87th MDG staff.
“The pandemic placed a lot of stress and isolation onto people,” said Rhodes. “After coming back from teleworking and talking to medical staff, I realized that we have Airmen who are really hurting, so the idea of a recharge room seemed like a great idea.”
With inspiration drawn from the rest and relaxation room at Macdill Air Force Base, Florida, Rhodes decided it was time to bring something bigger to JB MDL.
“Our efforts went one step further than Macdill and became a wing funded initiative instead of a self-help project,” said Rhodes. “We hope that the idea of a recharge room will be implemented in similar squadrons across the installation.”
Taking care of the needs of the Airmen who preserve the health of other service members is a priority that aligns with mission readiness and resilience.
“Emotional wellness is critical to having a ready force,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Bridget Gill, 87th MDG commander. “When our members are balanced in this area, they get to be their best selves and perform optimally.”
Investments like the recharge room reemphasize the importance of taking care of Airmen and will encourage and build a stronger, more resilient Air Force.