Spc. Timothy Burnell, a pharmacy technician with 582nd Medical Logistics Company, 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, was presented with the Larry C. Nesmith Enlisted Technician Award award Dec. 11 at the brigade’s headquarters by Col. Bertram Providence, brigade commander.
The Department of the Army level award is presented annually to a soldier who goes above and beyond his or her duties and responsibilities as a pharmacy technician. Burnell was recognized for his job performance during his unit’s recent deployment to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, from June 2012 until March 2013, where he ran the only narcotics pharmacy vault in the country.
“For me, it didn’t feel like I was doing anything special. I was just there doing my job and doing what I was supposed to do,” Burnell said. “However, it was a special feeling to know that I was recognized above and beyond all the other pharmacy technicians in the Army.”
During his time as the vault technician, Burnell implemented a new filing and tracking system which effectively maintained 100 percent accountability of all prescription medications on hand.
In addition, he also established a recycling program that allowed units to turn in unused medications to be recycled through the military’s Pharmaceutical Returns Management Program which enabled his unit to receive close to $1 million in return credits for reprocessed medications, Burnell said.
“Spc. Burnell is an exemplary soldier that exceeded my expectations,” said Capt. Norman Tuala, a pharmacist who served as Burnell’s officer-in-charge during the deployment. “While deployed together, I got to witness firsthand this soldier’s work ethic, professionalism and dedication. He was willing to put in the long hours required as the only pharmacy vault custodian at the only medical logistics company in theater.”
In addition to his duties at the pharmacy vault, Burnell volunteered more than 200 hours during the deployment to assist the pharmacy technicians at the Heathe N. Craig Joint Theater Hospital on Bagram Air Field.
“While working with a medical logistics company, I don’t always have an opportunity to work in the pharmacy doing what I trained to do,” Burnell said. “It was a great opportunity for me to practice my skill and maintain my proficiency on the job.”