If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, then Staff Sgt. Eric McEllen has discovered a veritable trove in the form of chairs, filing cabinets, shelves and desks.
With donations of furniture and assistance from other installation agencies, McEllen and the personnel at the Medical One Stop Clinic at the Soldier Support Center have transformed their space from sterile and decrepit, to stylish and efficient.
The Medical One Stop Clinic offers comprehensive health assessments for Soldiers arriving or leaving Fort Bragg.
“The appearance of the clinic is important to me because every Soldier at Fort Bragg comes into our care at some point,” said McEllen, who is the clinic’s non-commissioned officer in charge.
According to McEllen, the Medical One Stop Clinic can assess as few as 50 or as many as 300 Soldiers every day. “We never know how many Soldiers will come through our doors, so we have to be prepared,” he said.
Before the renovations, the defunct and sparse amenities could barely accommodate the patient load. Now, the clinic can offer a more pleasing and more professional space for its personnel and the Soldiers receiving care there.
McEllen partnered with Marty Clark, the facility manager at the Soldier Support Center, to acquire recycled furniture, art and other items from Womack Army Medical Center, the Warrior Transition Battalion, Corvias Military Living and offices housed in the Soldier Support Center.
“All of this furniture was destined for the trash,” Clark said.
“Even though the furniture is not really new, it is new to us,” McEllen added. “In this time of economic uncertainties and fiscal shortfalls, we have to learn how to do more with less. We have accomplished that mission here.”
As a result of their efforts, the Soldiers and the health care personnel at the clinic can enjoy comfortable chairs, sturdy desks and colorful art work – all of which contribute to an enhanced experience for both the patient and the provider.
The health care providers said that many of the patients had voiced positive comments about the clinic’s refreshed appearance.
McEllen also partnered with installation agencies to procure recycled computers for electronic medical assessments. The Medical One Stop Clinic initially offered three computers. McEllen created a computer lab with 14 stations to provide Soldiers with Internet access and expedite the assessment process.
The renovation project at the Medical One Stop Clinic has reaped environmental and fiscal benefits as well. Hundreds of pieces of furniture were diverted from the waste stream and McEllen estimates that the reuse project has saved $500,000 in Army funds.
In addition, McEllen has developed mutually beneficial relationships with Clark and other individuals and agencies on Fort Bragg.
“Working with these agencies and especially with (Clark) has been a wonderful experience,” McEllen said. “I am proud of what (the Medical One Stop Clinic) has become.”
Stacey Harter, materials planner for Sustainable Fort Bragg, said that McEllen is a role model for other Soldiers. “He really assumed ownership of his clinic and this project,” she said. Harter also said that the partnerships and resourcefulness of the Medical One Stop Clinic, the Soldier Support Center and the agencies who assisted in the project, should inspire others to join forces in Fort Bragg’s efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reducing, reusing and recycling have certainly provided the Medical One Stop Clinic with a new lease on life — in every sense of the word.