In recognition of Veterans Day, we’re proud to shine a light on a very special staff member who has provided nearly two decades of service in the armed forces.
Jessica Lewis, OTR/L, co-coordinator of Bacharach’s Stroke Program, assistant director of the OT Department, has served in the United States National Guard for 18 years, achieving the rank of Major.
When she was 20 years old, Jessica joined the National Guard in 2000 while attending Seton Hall University. She underwent basic training and continued to serve while she earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Richard Stockton College (now Stockton University) in 2005.
Jessica has been deployed twice – to active zones in Afghanistan and Qatar. While deployed, she was assigned to manage the flight line, where she oversaw the area where planes were loaded, parked and took off for missions.
“I am proud of my service and it is amazing to see how truly appreciative people are when they see me in my uniform,” says Jessica. “Men and women in our armed forces make so many sacrifices – their time, their bodies and their emotional health. Veterans Day is so important because it gives us time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices our veterans have made.”
Jessica currently serves as the Maintenance Operations Flight Commander for the 177th Fighter Wing, where she works behind-the-scenes with the aircrafts to make sure they are safe and mission-capable.
“Being in the National Guard has taught me a lot of leadership skills, which I have been able to utilize in my civilian job at Bacharach to help me communicate with different disciplines and lead by example,” says Jessica.
Ever since she took a career test in high school, Jessica knew she wanted to be an occupational therapist – she even did volunteer work at Bacharach.
“I love my job at Bacharach,” says Jessica. “I work primarily with neurology patients and help them gain their abilities and function back, so they can return to their work, activities and lives. It is so rewarding to see how hard my patients work day in and day out to achieve their goals.”
Thank you for your service, Major Lewis! We are humbled by your sacrifices and proud to call you colleague and friend.