Twenty years ago, Lorraine Smith, MBA, MT(ASCP)SH, finished her evening shift as a lab technologist in New York City. The Brooklyn-raised, U.S. Army Reserve soldier went to sleep in her Queens apartment that night on Sept. 10, 2001, and awoke the next morning to a world that had changed just steps outside her door.

News | 15 days ago

9/11 Brought Teammate From the Lab to the Frontlines

As we remember the lives lost and reflect on this somber day in history 20 years ago, we’re grateful for those who answered the call to serve and those who continue to do so to this day.

Twenty years ago, Lorraine Smith, MBA, MT(ASCP)SH, finished her evening shift as a lab technologist in New York City. The Brooklyn-raised, U.S. Army Reserve soldier went to sleep in her Queens apartment that night on Sept. 10, 2001, and awoke the next morning to a world that had changed just steps outside her door.

“My cellphone stopped working and everything was just sort of starting to get in a state of confusion and panic,” says Lorraine, who is now chief executive officer of Atrium Health Navicent, Monroe County Hospital.

Lorraine would not return to the lab for several weeks, as she and her U.S. Army Reserve unit immediately began guard duty around the World Trade Center and surrounding area in the city.

“It was such an emotional experience. Being a New Yorker at that time and the news just constantly on with everything going on, and days and days of watching first responders looking for people in the rubble. Just all of that and understanding what was happening,” she says.

In March 2003, Lorraine – who has since earned the rank sergeant major – deployed to Iraq for a year. Serving during wartime in an unfamiliar country and dangerous situation, Lorraine and her unit figured it out together – how to protect each other while traveling on dangerous roads, secure enough food and water, and take care of each other’s basic survival needs.

Lorraine Smith, MBA, MT(ASCP)SHIt became a poignant lesson in leadership, and Lorraine attributes the experience to influencing how she leads her healthcare team today.

“It's more than just about accomplishing the mission,” she says. “It's the way that we take care of each other throughout any situation.”

Now a mother of two, Lorraine is still enlisted as a U.S. Army Reserve soldier. Her dedication to service in both the military and hospital remains unwavering.

“There's just something so special about being able to help people in their time of need,” she says.