By Senior Airman William Tracy | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 21st Medical Squadron’s clinic at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, recently welcomed two new care providers, greatly expanding its services for the military and families here.
Maj. Jason Baker, physician assistant, and Mark Stonger, clinical psychologist, both with the 21st MDS, are specialists in their medical areas and are ready for their new roles.
“I’m excited to be here and be part of this vital mission,” Baker said. “When I deployed with the Army, we used the very tools the 50th Space Wing mission provided us, so now I’m not only a consumer — I’m a contributor.”
Stonger said he enjoys the base environment.
“This base has a small town feel to it,” he said. “I like it. Everyone at this clinic works closely together and we have a really important mission.”
From rural Arkansas, Baker said growing up he never considered the medical field despite both parents serving as Army lab technicians.
However, his aspirations drastically changed driving home from his high school graduation.
“I was driving back with my then girlfriend when I noticed a car on fire on the side of the road,” he said. “No one was in it and 911 was already called, but I felt so helpless like I couldn’t do anything to help even if someone was in it. On that day I wanted to be the person who could help.”
Baker followed his passion and commissioned into the medical field after serving as an enlisted Airman. Since then, he has dedicated himself to the profession of helping others.
Stonger’s story is different. Growing up in the Kansas City suburbs, he was accustomed to the fast-paced city lifestyle, and the mental stressors that come with it. Although, like Baker he did not have an initial passion toward his medical field.
“I didn’t pick a major as an undergrad for a number of years,” he said. “I began taking psychology classes every semester and I found it was a good fit for me. I then delved more and more in psychology, doing things like helping out with suicide crisis hotlines.”
Now a seasoned clinical psychologist, Stonger said every day brings new challenges as well as new rewards.
“Making an authentic connection with people, sometimes at their lowest points, is an important and satisfying process,” he said. “Mental health is the foundation of everything. If your mental health suffers — it can be devastating; I want to make sure you have the best stability possible.”
Lt. Col. Jana Weiner, 21st MDS commander, said both Baker and Stonger are welcome additions to the 21st MDS family.
“They are both a tremendous asset to the team,” Weiner said. “They‘ve come in charging and ready to go, and are already seeing patients.”
She shared the positive impact both make on the clinic.
“We have greater access to care, allowing us to see more patients here instead of sending them elsewhere,” Weiner said. “Having two seasoned professionals also serves as a huge morale boost to the staff that have been bearing the load during our manning shortages.”
Maintaining mental and physical health upholds the pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness as well as falls in line with the 50th Space Wing’s Mission, Vision and Priorities.
“Helping others and having a positive impact in their lives is why I get up every morning,” Baker said. “Hearing what people do and how they add to the mission is awesome and I’m glad to be able to help.”
Both providers agree with their specialized services, things will be looking up for Airmen throughout the base.
“We’re here for you,” Stonger said. “Mental and physical health go hand-and-hand. The mind and body is one collective unit. We can provide insight into both.”
Weiner said the future looks optimistic for the clinic.
“These two individuals will absolutely contribute to our mission, they help provide a medically ready force for our Airmen,” she said.