Spotlight Sailor – HMCM Patricia Sullivan
HMCM Patricia Sullivan
Navy Reserve Spotlight Sailor
Master Chief Petty Officer, Hospital Corpsman, Selected Reserve
Master Chief Sullivan served in the Navy for 37 years, and although she is now retired she continues to mentor Sailors as the NOSC Columbia (South Carolina) Ombudsman. Sullivan spends her free time volunteering with numerous organizations in her community. She previously served as the director and Chair for the local Ronald McDonald House Board. Now she volunteers for the Midlands Foundation for Foster Children; Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) foundation; as a member of the Platelet Committee American Red Cross Southeast Chapter; Heyward Learning Center Richland District 1 Advisory Committee for the Medical Program; VA Hospital; and Oral Health Task Force South Carolina member. She also is a lector at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Columbia.
How have you benefited from your service in the Navy Reserve?
Nothing in my life has made me more proud than to say that I served my country and I would do it again. I grew up along the coast of New England so it was only natural that a sea service would be my choice. What brought me to South Carolina when I got off of active duty was a top notch Dental Hygiene program at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC, which is also not too far from the sea and a NOSC that supported active duty components at the Naval Base in Charleston. It first started as a way to supplement monies while I got through hygiene school followed by completing a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina. Later, I was able to complete a Master of Business Management from Webster University. However, without really realizing it during this whole time as a Reservist the Navy became my “second family.”
The friendship and leadership that was shown to me in the Reserves still enables me to continue to do the best that I can for the sailors and the local community. Even in retirement interactions with Navy personnel have taught me that one still needs to lead by example. Volunteering with deployments of sailors from Task Force Marshall is so important. It lets me show those shipmates that I still have their back.
It is so fulfilling to observe young Reservists that I have mentored become productive members of the Navy Reserve and the community. People still often refer to us as weekend warriors, but we are so much more.
Why did you choose to join the Navy Reserve?
Joining the Reserves let me keep exploring and perfecting the Navy’s true meaning of it’s core values of honor, courage and commitment. Staying in the Reserves also helped me use those values within my rate plus with the volunteer work I did and still do in the local community. Often times representing the Navy Reserves at various events in Columbia. In an Army town, Navy personnel stand out so our commitment to represent the Navy in a positive light is enhanced three fold. I plus six dental technicians were able to establish a relationship while on drill status with the DENTAC on Fort Jackson, SC. The command helped the NOSC immensely meet their dental goals. Fort Jackson is the Army’s “home” and the Navy respects it as such that is why we still get the help in other areas.
My work as a volunteer for the Children’s Dental Health Clinic or as an American Red Cross platelet donor in Columbia, SC, allows me time to show how retired Navy personnel are still able to provide a positive impact on people’s lives.
For the past 21 years the NOSC with help from local businesses have helped children in need have a better Christmas. It is done in memory of a young cancer patient who survived seven years beyond expectancy. His love of the Navy and the Navy reserve can never be measured and the service is often credited with his will to survive as long as he did. He had about 70 Navy ball caps and plaques when he died. If one of our sailors needs help, they also are never forgotten. We are family whether it is with the local civilian community or the military. Once again SELRES and retirees make it happen. This is the best of both worlds. Little did I realize the impact that joining the Reserves would have on my life.
In my Navy…
there have been many changes. While there maybe some things we do not like, if these changes are not for the benefit of the Navy as a whole, they have a way of correcting themselves. One thing that should not change is the Chief mentoring the young sailor on how to adapt and be proud of the world’s greatest Navy.