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Saluting Our Heroes: Interview with Retired Colonel Mary


November 17, 2023
On Veterans Day, we honored all who answered the call and protected our nation. Siena Gardens had the opportunity to interview one of our Veterans, Mary Christensen, Retired Colonel USAF, NC, BSN, MSED.

Hailing from Hazard, Kentucky, Mary kickstarted her nursing journey at the Miners Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Serendipity led her to the Air Force when a recruiter's office conveniently stood across from her college. Eager to explore the world with a friend, Mary enlisted, later earning her BSN at Ball State University and a Master's in Education at the University of Southern Mississippi. Over 32 years, with 24 in the Air Force, Mary's nursing career spanned diverse roles and locations, leaving an enduring impact in Kentucky, Alaska, Arizona, and Ohio.



Throughout her military career, Mary experienced pivotal moments such as serving on the casualty staging unit in Japan during the Vietnam War and tending to wounded soldiers flown in from the battlefield. At Scotts Air Force Base in Illinois, she wore many hats—Flight Nurse, instructor, scheduler, and coordinator. She later took on the role of United Kingdom Education Coordinator/Hospital Training Officer and served as a Military Consultant to the Surgeon General, adding layers of expertise to her rich and varied professional journey.

Her favorite place to be stationed was in England, expressing, “I loved it so much I actually felt guilty I got to do this for my job!” She laughed telling us a story about the Hospital Officers Gourmet Society, HOGS, where they met once a month and took the military bus to try different restaurants.



Mary's illustrious 24-year military career is adorned with numerous medals and awards, attesting to her exceptional service. Among the accolades are The Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Accommodation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Siena Gardens feels incredibly fortunate to care for and rehabilitate Mary, a truly unique individual, expressing heartfelt gratitude for her dedicated service to our country.

Head over to our Facebook page to thank Mary for her service!

Siena Gardens on Facebok

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Saluting Our Heroes: Interview with Retired Colonel Mary
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