NDDH Salutes Employee Veterans

Health Department Employs Four Females Who Served in the Military

Pictured Left to Right: 2nd Lieutenant Kendra Curran, US Air Force; Janine Vose, US Navy; Terre Hendricks, US Air Force Reserves; Sherry Vallone, US Coast Guard. All four are/were employed by the Northeast District Department of Health in Brooklyn. Curran was recently called to active duty.

(BROOKLYN) – Four female employees of Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH) recently discovered a common link they all shared – a passion for service – not just in the work they perform at the local health department, but exemplified by service to their country. All four have or are currently serving in the military.

Kendra Curran, Terre Hendricks, Sherry Vallone and Janine Vose are part of the NDDH public health team who share a unique bond of military service. The discovery came at a recent staff meeting where talk turned to a farewell party for Curran, an Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps graduate who was recently called to active duty.

“Kendra, Sherry, and Janine were all hired within the last few years at NDDH and their military service was listed on their resumes, so we knew their backgrounds,” explained NDDH Education and Communications Coordinator Linda Colangelo. “When we started talking about the irony of being such a small workplace and having three military veterans on staff, Terre, a 14-year employee, nonchalantly said, ‘I can relate. I served, too.’ With Veterans Day on the horizon, we knew we had a unique story to tell.”

Terre Hendricks, who is an NDDH Registered Sanitarian, joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves in 1985 and worked as a Bioenvironmental Engineering Technician, responsible for workplace safety and industrial hygiene for employees. Six months after 9/11, she was deployed to Kuwait, Qatar, and then Germany. From 1996-2005, she was an Air Transportation Technician, loading and unloading military aircraft cargo. She retired in 2005 as a Master Sergeant and began work that same year at NDDH. “The lessons I learned in the Air Force – patience, self-discipline, and teamwork – have served me well in my work at the health department,” she said.

Janine Vose was 17 when she joined the United States Navy, following in the footsteps of her father, a retired Navy SeeBee. Vose, who joined the Danielson Fire Department at age 16, put her skills right to use as a Damage Controlman (on-ship firefighter) and was stationed in Guam. Vose serves as the NDDH Public Health Nurse, also works as a nurse in the Day Kimball Hospital Emergency Department, and is an EMT and Medical Lieutenant with the East Killingly Fire Department. “If I could have foreseen my future, I should have been a corpsman!” said Vose.

Sherry Vallone, who first served as an intern at NDDH and was later hired as an Environmental Health Specialist, entered the United States Coast Guard in 1991. She served eight years active duty and two years inactive ready reserve, attaining the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class. Following boot camp, she was assigned to the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama. Vallone’s service kept her stateside, serving in Petaluma, CA as a Health Services Technician, then to Governor’s Island in New York, and finally to the Coast Guard Academy in New London.“What drew me to the military was my failed attempt at being a pilot,” explained Vallone. “I was going to college to become a commercial pilot. The defining moment? I was at the controls of a Cessna two-seater, and had come in for a landing, and then skipped three times down the runway on one wheel. Ground control called and jokingly said, ‘We have to call the cement trucks to fix the potholes you created.’ That’s when I decided maybe the waters of the Coast Guard would be a better fit for me!”

Kendra Curran served as the NDDH Community Health Assistant and just entered the United States Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant, Logistics Readiness Officer. “I chose the Air Force because it was the branch that I felt best aligned with my core values and offered the career opportunities I was looking for,” said Curran. “My initial training has contributed to my confidence, time management, and love for new adventures…much like my tenure at NDDH.”

Curran received plenty of tips from her veteran colleagues when called to active duty. “Enjoy your time, consider it as a career. Some of my greatest experiences and friendships came from being in the military,” said Hendricks. Vallone offers, “You are now part of an elite group that offers life-long camaraderie. Wherever life takes you, you’ll find a veteran who understands the commitment you made.” Vose adds, “Kendra will fit in just fine. She knows when to ask questions and has great intuition. You can just tell she is going to excel.”

NDDH Director of Health Sue Starkey echoes the sentiments of her staff. “We are so very proud to employ veterans among our cohesive team of employees, who are all dedicated to providing the very best public health service to our residents. We thank them for their service to our country...and to our district. We are anxious to watch Kendra’s future take flight.”

Curran’s advice to herself? “I hope to remain true to myself and serve with integrity and compassion.”