Recognizing Civilians: Michael A. Booker

Michael A. Booker, Kenner Army Health Clinic, Audiology Technologist

Position: Audiology Technician

Duties: Provide quality hearing tests during annual health screenings or as ordered by the provider.

Hometown: Born at Fort Sill, Okla., but Virginia is home now.

Length of time in federal service and the military if you served: “I invested 10 years in the Air Force because I love airplanes. They did not let Airmen fire automatic rifles, and I love weapons, so I did 10 years in the Army. Then, you can add 15 years government service and seven years as a contractor.”

Biggest accomplishment in your career: “One of my biggest career accomplishments was to join the medical service.”

Biggest personal accomplishment: “Writing and publishing my book of poetry titled ‘Inside my Heart.’”

The aspect of your job that challenges you most: “Personalizing and informing the service members of their hearing test results. The goal is to change the way they use hearing protection so it’s most effective.”

The aspect of your job you like the most: “Giving people the best hearing test they will ever have is important to me. When a person is rendered sightless, they depend on what they can hear around them for situational awareness. A Soldier or service member is in the same predicament during battle or under cover at night. Anyone else will hear a lifesaving sound if necessary like people trapped in buildings or lost in the woods, etc.”

What you love most about your career: “I love helping people as a medical professional, as a Christian and as a human being. Also, working at Kenner Army Health Clinic is a dream-come-true for me; mainly because of the people, but also the experience and knowledge that will last a lifetime.”

Who in your career helped you the most and why? “My college professors taught me lessons I have not forgotten.  One told me ‘people don’t care what you know until they know you care.’ That sentiment is in my head and heart every day when I come to work.”

What do you feel is your legacy to the people you work with? “That they were helped by someone who really cares about them. I’m a Christian man who’s followed the teachings of Jesus all my life. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ and his final commandment was ‘Love one another, as I have loved you.’ So, this has been my life’s meaningful journey doing just that.”

What advice would you give to co-workers as you ready yourself for retirement? “You are a medical professional, now show the world what you have that makes you so special.”

What about you personally do you hope to have passed on to others? “That I am someone to trust and count on, and I knew what I was doing.”

Tell me about one life-changing moment: “I never thought I would have kids, now I have three beautiful children who gave me seven grandchildren. Life became perfect because of them.”

What would surprise people to know about you? “I used to open the Def Jam comedy shows by reading my poems before the promoter came out. Here in Richmond and Petersburg, I am a professional musician who plays with the Soul Unlimited Band and Show.”

Favorite quote or saying: “‘I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.’” (Albert Camus)

Your future plans: “I plan to enjoy everything that I have been given while I am still healthy enough to do it.”