One thing is definite within the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone – our team is a team. Each and every staff member not only plays a crucial role in accomplishing our mission to ensure our military families receive the care they’ve earned, but they do so from the heart and with a passion that can’t help but to inspire. Here’s a closer look at one such teammate, receptionist Una Thompson.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, such as where you grew up and your background leading up to joining CVN?
I grew up in the Soviet Union, the world that was very different from the one I live in now. However, despite the fact that we were sheltered from the Western civilization I have the fondest memories growing up. Early on I was known as a “go-getter” child and that has been true and true throughout my entire life. At the age of 18, on a whim, I packed my bags and booked the flight to the New York City with no more than $200 in my pocket. Not only this was my first time leaving my mom’s home and the country, but also my very first time boarding the plane. What was supposed to be a short work/travel summer trip turned into the start of a whole new life. The last 20 years in the US have been eventful to say the least. I became a military wife and then active duty service member myself. Now, I am a single mom of a 16 year old son Matthew who is my twin in all things, and we have two dogs and two cats. Military life has given me the opportunities to live in several states as well as Europe and Asia. After my service, I decided to stay in the Clarksville area, pursue my educational goals and find the way to closely work with the military personnel and their families whom I have held dear to my heart for the past two decades of my life. After I graduated from the APSU my job search led me to the CVN and I am overjoyed to be a part of this amazing team.
If a Veteran, can you tell me about your time in service?
I joined the army pretty late in my life when I was almost thirty years old. There were times where I shook my head and thought to myself “What in the WORLD was I thinking?” However, it was hands down the highlight of my life, where I learned so much about myself, my strength, perseverance, and my drive. The time in service brought me so many friendships, taught me the truest meaning of “I got your back” and what it means to be in the band of people who are willing to selflessly lay down their lives not only for one another but a random stranger.
If a Veteran, what was it like returning to civilian life?
Returning to the civilian life was not hard for me since I did not serve for that long. Besides I already had a pretty substantial life experience prior to the service. I imagine it is harder for those who join right out of the high school or serve the whole twenty years.
You’ve taken life experience and built a career to help others, what was your greatest takeaway from this process?
Being a part of any entity that helps people navigate difficult situations has always brought me the biggest joy and fulfilment in life. The last two decades of my life have been spent closely intertwined in the military community, so I could not see my path forward without continuing to serve it in some way or form. Here at Steven A. Cohen Clinic I can make a small difference in every person’s day and, in turn, it makes my day. The biggest takeaway from this process is that even the smallest deed is significant and can turn someone’s day around. All it takes is a smile, a kind word, or an empathetic ear, things that we are all capable of, to change the world.
How have things been going at the clinic since you arrived?
I think the clinic operates as a well-oiled machine and always perseveres when a challenge has been thrown its way. Everyone is genuinely nice and care about one another so much, I love this team.
Have you faced challenges so far in your time at the clinic?
I think the biggest challenge so far for me has been the Cerner and learning all the ropes about it. However, I think we have made it to the end of the tunnel.
What do you hope for clinic and your clients?
My biggest hope for our clients is to find our services helpful in navigating this often so difficult journey of mental health. My wish for the clinic is to be that beacon of hope for the clients when times are challenging and it feels as all hope is gone for them.
My greatest wish for our clinic is the ability to serve our military community with the best quality of care while nurturing their own mental health needs. Our staff are humans and we often carry the load of others on our shoulders, especially our clinical staff. Our clinicians do go underappreciated in the society because, after all, they are working behind the veil and do not receive the spotlight as the rest of the health care sector does.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love spending my free time with family and friends. I am always down for good times in a good company. One can often find me on a trail somewhere walking my German shepherd, taking on a new DIY project, or exploring waterfalls and other wonders of the nature in TN.
Favorite sports team?
SAINTS…. WHOOO DATTT!!!
Cohen Military Family Clinic