Doing what she can

Aaron
Aaron Beswick
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Port au Choix native coming to the aid of Afghan communities ravaged by fighting, disease and the need for shoes

You can take the girl to Afghanistan, but you can't take the Port au Choix out of the girl.

"Mom tells me I 'talks more grand'," said Cpl. Krista Plowman when asked how serving in Afghanistan has changed her. "But, on a serious note, it has definitely been a life-changing experience. Every day I see people who live in what we would consider a state of despair, yet they are still grateful and appreciative of everything in their lives."

A Port au Choix native, Cpl. Krista Plowman is pictured treating a fellow soldier in Afghanistan.

You can take the girl to Afghanistan, but you can't take the Port au Choix out of the girl.

"Mom tells me I 'talks more grand'," said Cpl. Krista Plowman when asked how serving in Afghanistan has changed her. "But, on a serious note, it has definitely been a life-changing experience. Every day I see people who live in what we would consider a state of despair, yet they are still grateful and appreciative of everything in their lives."

Port au Choix native Cpl. Plowman is a medic with an armored reconnaissance squad-ron patrolling from a forward operating base. She patrols with her fellow soldiers, providing medical assistance in the field or from a clinic to military personnel and area villagers.

"It has been a long road from residing in my hometown," she replied in an e-mail correspondence with the Pen.

Growing up in Port au Choix she always wanted to work in medicine, a desire which she says mixed with homegrown values to bring her to Afghanistan.

"I believe when you grow up in a small town in Newfoundland, you become a person who naturally will do anything you can to help a stranger in need. People don't think twice about giving you the shirt off their back, or the last fish in their freezer."

And there's plenty of empty shelves in Afghanistan. Cpl. Plowman's most potent memory is of arriving at a hospital treating 150-200 people per day with an empty pharmacy and shortages of almost all essential medical equipment and supplies.

"Most of their patients have serious medical conditions such as tuberculosis and malaria - they are extremely understaffed and have next to nothing to work with," said Cpl. Plowman. "Yet they still do what they can for each and every patient."

One of the efforts to help she's participating in is dubbed the Afghan Shoe Project. Money donated by Canadians is spent locally, stimulating the local economy, on necessities for Afghans.

Cpl. Plowman and her husband, who also serves in Afghanistan, will be returning to Canada this fall.

"Hopefully in time for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary."

Joseph and Leona Plowman will be happy to have her back in Port au Choix, even if she's telling people about their 50th anniversary.

"Oh yes, we're proud and worried too," said Leona Plowman. "I talk to her now and then and feel a bit better for a while - it's a dangerous place over there."

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Port au Choix, Newfoundland Canada

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  • Jackie
    July 09, 2010 - 09:24

    I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how VERY proud we, as Newfoundlanders, are of CPL Krista Plowman. It brings chills down my body when ever I read about Krista's journey over in Afghanistan. I guess knowing her family like I do you certainly know that she's doing beyond her call of duty. May God keep her and all soldiers safe. br br Jackie (Wade) Vezeau br Ont