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Wounded Warrior Regiment


Still in the Fight
A Change Agent: A Personal Note to Deborah Paxton on her Retirement

By Julie Glaubach | Wounded Warrior Regiment | October 11, 2018


On September 27th, Wounded Warrior Regiment said farewell to a remarkable staff member, Deborah Paxton, MSN, RN, as she entered retirement after a lifetime of support to the Marine Corps and a decade with WWR. Mrs. Paxton served as the mental health advisor to the regiment, a position that was essentially created due to a need she saw and promoted at meetings with senior leaders. Her tenacity and nursing background formed a dynamic combination to be the advisor, voice of reason, leader and friend WWR and its recovering Marines and Sailors needed.

Mrs. Deborah Paxton's Retirement
U.S. Marine Corps Col. Lawrence F. Miller, commanding officer, Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR), presents a certificate to retired Gen. John M. Paxton during his' wife's, Mrs. Deborah Paxton, mental health advisor, WWR, retirement ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Va., Sep. 27, 2018. Paxton served 13 honorable years as a government employee. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cristian L. Ricardo)

We asked Debbie’s co-workers two simple questions to help us adequately paint a picture of how she impacted the Marines she supported and the staff with whom she partnered. Here are a few of their answers:

Q: What is one word you would use to describe Debbie Paxton?

Frank Blankemeyer, Recovery Care Coordinator Program Manager: Two words, Classy and Unassuming. I don't think anyone would identify her as the ACMC's wife in regard to work status and if they did, it would be because of name recognition.  She is an incredibly down-to-earth, hard-working, no-nonsense professional and is personally involved in almost all the high visibility cases supported by the regiment (and the RCC program).  She has had a hand in positively affecting and changing the direction and outcome of some tragic cases.

Lorri Ward, MSN, RN, WWR Nurse: This is tough, as there a many words to describe Debbie… mentor, confidant, leader, fierce advocate, great historian, loyal friend and many more.

Ms. Lorri Ward (left) poses with Mrs. Deborah Paxton (right) at Mrs. Paxton's retirement ceremony reception
at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Va., Sep. 27, 2018.


Ed Salau, Health Services Integrator, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operation Command: I don't have just one word, "tenacious advocate."

Bill Bauer, Licensed Clinical Consultant, Wounded Warrior Battalion - East: "steadfast"

Dean Trio, Integrated Disability Evaluation System Liaison, WWR: There are so many of them, "phenomenal."


Q: Please tell a quick story or anecdote that exemplifies how you knew her as a nurse, mental health advisor, advocate, civilian Marine, and all-around amazing person.

FB: “Her car is one of the last in the parking lot every day.”  

LW: “Debbie possesses infinite wisdom of nursing practice; it amazes me how she quickly identifies medical issues and most often has a remedy!  She is the epitome of a civilian Marine in every aspect – an example she is diligent in her annual training, even though she complains about doing the plain writing training!”

ES: When I found myself talking to people over the years, whether it was talking to a retired lance corporal or even a high-ranking officer, the reaction to her name when it was/is mentioned is identical...a smile followed by a story of how much better their lives are for having known her. The person always summarizes the benefits of her tenacious advocacy "to know her is to be better for having known her…You got more than you thought was possible when she helped you. She didn't stop at the immediate need."

BB: In the time I’ve known her she "never rattled, and no matter how chaotic things were, her presence made you calm down…she was unflappable."

DT: She started in July of 2008, and I started in August the same year; she brought a service member who was impacted by severe PTSD and TBI to talk with me. The Marine was frustrated and wanting "out."  She brought him to me for help and as a team we worked to facilitate his medical retirement. She had and continues to have such a "comforting way" about her, and she stayed connected to those she helps. To this day she continues to reach out to the Marine we helped in 2008. "She was truly a mentor."

WWR's Medical Section staff poses with Mrs. Deborah Paxton at her retirement reception
at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Va., Sep. 27, 2018.

Mrs. Paxton truly left a lasting impression on everyone she met; the thoughts shared above represent the sentiments of innumerable people who had the joy of knowing Debbie Paxton. Her passion will never be replaced, but continues on through the work of all those she mentored here at WWR.



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