Chuck Scronce juggles many roles. At home, he’s a husband, dad and chief grillmaster. At CVMC, he’s the administrator of emergency, heart and vascular services. And, as a flight nurse in the Air National Guard, he’s a Lieutenant Colonel and Commander.
As it turns out, 35 years of military experience gives him an edge. He leads with calm confidence whether triaging patients in the Emergency Department, tending to wounded soldiers on the battlefield or evacuating a hospital in the path of a category 5 hurricane.
Just days ahead of Hurricane Irma’s landfall in Florida this September, Chuck assisted in the evacuation of fragile medical patients from the Lower Keys Medical Center to a hospital in Alabama. As Commander of the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, he also led the mission two weeks later returning the patients to Key West. Irma made landfall as a category five storm, causing extensive flooding and destruction.
“We had some 85-95 year old patients with common senior ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s compounded by other medical conditions who had never been in an airborne environment – especially not the back of a noisy C-130,” Chuck details. “Some of them became so confused they were combative and tried to get up during the flight. So, we had to have crew members actually standing during take-off and landing, tethered to the litters stacked five high to provide reassurance to those patients.”
As a citizen soldier, Chuck has been deployed to warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has completed missions in Africa and Germany that take him away from home and his job up to six months a year. Caring for wounded military personnel, sometimes with mortar fire flying overhead, makes him well practiced for his role leading medical providers amidst chaos for the 57,000 plus patients who visit CVMC’s Emergency Department every year.
CVMC Vice President Sherry Richardson says, “Chuck is incredibly adept at managing in a crisis. When he joined our team six years ago he already had the skillset to succeed. He’s mission-driven, flexible and a strong team builder… and he absolutely makes the best barbecue in town!”
Before the Air National Guard, Chuck served four years active duty in the U.S. Navy. The Guard has both a federal and state mission. The dual mission, a provision of the U. S. Constitution, means Chuck holds membership in the National Guard of the state and in the United States Air Force.
For most people, the prospect of going to a hostile country is scary, but Chuck considers caring for our brave men and women an honor. “I listen to their stories,” he says. “I learn their ambitions. I hear their fears. They miss home and they worry about the unknown.” And once he’s done, he flies right back to Hickory — to care for the families who need him here.
The National Guard and Reserve are an integral part of our military. Almost half of the men and women serving in the armed forces are members of the National Guard and Reserve. As an employer, CVMC is firmly committed to enabling employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve. Saturday, November 11 is Veteran’s Day – please take the time to show your support and appreciation for Chuck and all other CVMC employees who have served.