Local optometrist receives humanitarian award for service in Kentucky Air National Guard

March 2, 2019 | 3:08 am

Updated March 1, 2019 | 10:59 pm

Dr. Tricia Adams received the General John Hunt Morgan award given through the National Guard Association of Kentucky for exemplary performance and outstanding service. | Photo by Owensboro Times

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Tricia Adams began working as an optometrist. She was happy with her career, but began considering how she could professionally contribute in a service capacity. She had previously worked on several overseas optometric humanitarian trips and enjoyed them so, while at a continuing education conference, Adams noticed the Kentucky Air National Guard needed an optometrist and she signed up immediately.

For the past 13 years, Adams has served as the Chief of Optometric Services for the Kentucky Air National Guard.  

“I ensure our many pilots, navigators, flight engineers, combat controllers, pararescue jumpers and all other flyers on base meet the visual standards of the Air Force and provide them with the support they need to fulfill the mission,” Adams said.

This past year, Adams was nominated for and received the General John Hunt Morgan award given through the National Guard Association of Kentucky for exemplary performance and outstanding service to the National Guard in the state of Kentucky.

One of Adams’ greatest pleasures of working in the military has been humanitarian outreach. Although sometimes she has only been able to support personnel onboard military aircraft, and other service members traveling to the area as they have prepared humanitarian support, Adams said, as a medical provider, she has a unique opportunity to provide support to communities with her expertise and training.  

“We have been able to lead missions to remote areas of the United States to provide medical, dental and optometric support,” Adams said.

Most recently, Adams traveled to four remote locations in Eastern Kentucky that were chosen through the Department of Local Government to provide outreach.  

Adams said the Kentucky Air National Guard has two global state partnerships aimed in providing logistical support and expertise to developing countries and she hopes that a medical mission to one of these countries will take place in the future.   

“The Air National Guard is very special because it contains highly specialized physicians, pilots, engineers and others, all who have busy and exciting civilian workloads as well,” Adams said. “We are all there because we want to contribute to our country and serve a greater good.  It is incredibly fulfilling to work with a team like this to reach a common goal.”

Adams said that she has been incredibly blessed in life with attentive and loving parents who have supported her through school and her service and is also blessed that her husband, Dr. Murray Adams, who is also an optometrist, sees the importance of giving back to the community as she does.

“I hope to teach my children that it is easy to serve others,” Adams said. “Being kind and not judgmental to others is the best service. Serving at church, helping an elderly neighbor or including a kid on the playground are all great ways to make an impact.”

Adams said she will be in the Guard as long as she is able to be of service.  

“We, as society, are so busy and it’s very easy to become very narrowly focused and not realize there is a world around you,” Adams said. “Service to others is a way to keep my perspective open to the rest of the world around us. Eye care just happens to be the platform that has allowed me to serve.”

March 2, 2019 | 3:08 am

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