At nearly 80 years of age, Doctor Madhu Patel, from the Joint Health Command’s Enoggera Health Centre, 1st Division, is showing no signs of slowing down.
CAPTION: Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr, with 1st Division’s Dr Madhu Patel, celebrating her 50 years of service in the Australian Army at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, Queensland. Story by Captain Jessica O’Reilly. Photo by Corporal Miguel Anonuevo.
Commencing her employment with the Australian Army in 1971, the general practitioner recently celebrated 50 years of service and was awarded a commendation by Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr in recognition of her outstanding career.
If you ask Dr Patel, the answer to such longevity is simple.
“One hundred per cent of my concentration is for soldiers and what I can do for them for them to have a better life, for them to be happy at work and be able to provide a service to Defence,” Dr Patel said.
“In managing soldiers either administratively or medically, I won’t take no for an answer. I will get things done in a timely manner to get them ready to deploy.”
Presented with the commendation at Gallipoli Barracks on May 27, Dr Patel said she had enjoyed her career.
“I have been privileged through my relationship with my commanders, and their trust upon me has helped me look after my soldiers,” she said.
“I’m for them, with them and will always want to help them and serve the people of this country.
“My commanders have always looked after me and understood my capability and that’s the most important thing – that they enable you to do your job and do it well.
“This recognition of my service is very fulfilling.
“For Defence to know who I am, what I am and what I have done – serving the country through our people – it means a lot to me. I never expected it.
“They know me personally, professionally and they know how I look after people at all levels.”
Retirement plans are not on the cards yet for Dr Patel. For her, the Army is her life.
“Defence has been the most important part of my whole life,” she said.
“I don’t wear the uniform, but it exists in every cell in my body.
“My advice to people who are new to the military is respecting the commitment they make.
“You committed to do something and you need to fulfil that commitment. You need to know that you are there to look after people in your country who you don’t even know.
“Be proud to be a soldier.”