In commemoration of Veterans Day, 2018, Dr. Timothy Millea, ORA Orthopedics, shares the story of his military service and the joys of practicing medicine in the Quad Cities.
Meet Retired ORA Orthopedics Surgeon: Dr. Timothy Millea
Hometown: Graettinger, Iowa
Years in Practice: 27 – retired in 2020
Specialty: Spine surgery
Branch of Military Service: U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps
Why did you decide to join the Army Reserves?
I joined the Reserve Medical Corps early in my residency for two reasons. As a father of five children with a resident’s salary, the extra income from Reserve duty was critical. Also, it was an opportunity to develop relationships with and learn from some of the best and brightest physicians and surgeons on active duty in military service.
What was your primary role in the Reserves?
I was assigned to a MASH unit based in Peoria, tasked with rapid deployment of mobile surgical units in a combat environment.
What memorable moments have remained with you?
During the first Gulf War in early 1991, I was mobilized to Fort Sam Houston Army Medical Center in San Antonio for intensive training in NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) warfare attacks. In the weeks spent in training, the ground war began and ended quickly, which allowed me to return home rather than being mobilized to the Middle East.
How did your service contribute to your personal and professional growth?
During my time in the Reserve, I worked alongside many other health care professionals who exemplified dedication to their patients and their country. There are no better examples of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals than those dedicated to military medicine.
What made you decide to become an orthopedic surgeon?
The opportunity to help people with problems that hampers their quality of life. This was what attracted me to orthopedics.
What did you like best about practicing medicine?
The interaction with patients is what kept everything in perspective for me. Having patients become friends is a culmination of the efforts of both the patient and me to work together for a common goal.
What is your advice to patients for staying fit and strong, especially after an injury or surgery?
Keep moving, and keep expecting more of yourself. If you always stop short of feeling that you are challenging yourself, you will not be able to reach your full potential.