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Local veteran reflects on being among the first to serve on COVID frontlines

terri davis
Posted at 10:05 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 23:36:00-04

MILWAUKEE — During this Women's History Month, a local veteran shared her story of serving on the nation's frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 when it first started two years ago.

Terri Davis has been an Intensive Care Unit nurse for almost 22 years and a member of the military for 17 years.

Davis has worked at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center since 2008. She is also part of the Army Reserve Nurse Corps.

Two years ago, just as the pandemic took hold, Davis volunteered to work with the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force. It was the first task force to support the federal government's COVID-19 response on the east coast.

"I knew this is what what I joined the military for," Davis said.

Davis said it's hard to describe what it felt like at the time.

"We were literally going into the unknown. We didn't know where we were going to be, if we had enough PPE," Davis said.

The team turned a convention center in New Jersey into a field hospital and trained civilian staff.

Once that was done, Davis volunteered to stay in New Jersey for a couple of months to help at a local hospital caring for ICU patients.

Her husband and five kids stayed in Wisconsin. All of it took a toll on her.

"I'm a very strong female. I’m a very strong army nurse. I can’t say a lot can break me, but New Jersey broke me. It made me realize why I was a nurse, why I was in the military, knowing I can’t fix everybody, but to know I’m doing my best," Davis said.

Davis was adamant that she does not regret volunteering with the task force.

"I would do it over again with more confidence," Davis said.

Davis believes she came back to Wisconsin stronger and with experience to help her colleagues and patients.

These days, it is hard for her to see nurses leaving and she hopes that changes.

Despite what life throws at her, Davis is not going anywhere.

"I love my vets. I love my nurses. I honestly truly love helping people so no I will never leave," Davis said.

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