03 April 2011

Every Day Hero

Doctor Leaves Business for Front Lines

Army Capt. (Dr.) Douglas Powell left his job as a business executive to attend medical school and become a military physician. He oversees operations at the troop medical clinic at Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Breanne Pye

By Army Sgt. Breanne Pye
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, March 31, 2011 – Flip through history's pages and you will find countless stories of men and women who have taken incredible journeys and become celebrated heroes.

If you're looking for a modern-day hero, you won't have to look any farther than a 49-year-old combat surgeon here who’s known as “Doc” throughout Task Force Raider.

A former business executive for Burton Snowboards, Army Capt. (Dr.) Douglas Powell is the brigade surgeon for the 4th Infantry Division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. His mission here is quite different from that of the design team he’d led with Burton, as he serves on the front lines of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Powell, a native of Middlebury, Vt., said his journey to becoming an Army surgeon began when he enlisted as a medic in the Vermont National Guard after graduating from college. He competed as part of the Vermont Guard’s winter biathlon team for five years, and was hired by Burton Snowboards as a project manager.

"Doug was an asset to our company," said Jake Burton, the company’s founder. "He was a hard worker who always gave me everything he had, never quit, and always led by example."

Though he thoroughly enjoyed his work at Burton Snowboards and the environment that kind of work provided, Powell said, he continued to feel as if something important was missing from his life.

"After eight years at Burton, I started feeling a strong desire to get away from business and start doing something that would have an impact on people's lives," he said. "At that point, I began volunteering at a hospital in Burlington, Vt."

Within a month of working in the hospital's cancer ward, Powell determined that he needed to have some form of medical service in his career....

Read more about this amazing man here.

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