Dr Madhu Patel, 80-year-old, from the Australian army’s Joint Health Command’s Enoggera Health Centre, 1st Division, is still going strong.
She commenced her employment as a general practitioner with the Australian Army in 1971 at a time when there were hardly any women or people from different cultures in the defence force.
Dr Madhu Patel recently celebrated 50 years of service and for this achievement was awarded a commendation by Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr.
Dr Madhu Patel was presented with the commendation at Gallipoli Barracks on 27 May 2022.
She told Defence News that the secret of her longevity is the focus and dedication to soldiers.
“One hundred per cent of my concentration is for soldiers and what I can do for them for them to have a better life, for them to be happy at work and be able to provide a service to Defence.”
“In managing soldiers either administratively or medically, I won’t take no for an answer. I will get things done in a timely manner to get them ready to deploy.”
Dr Madhu Patel further said that she had enjoyed her career in the Australian defence force.
“I have been privileged through my relationship with my commanders, and their trust upon me has helped me look after my soldiers. I’m for them, with them and will always want to help them and serve the people of this country.”
She further thanked her commanders for supporting and recognising her capabilities.
“My commanders have always looked after me and understood my capability and that’s the most important thing – that they enable you to do your job and do it well. This recognition of my service is very fulfilling. For Defence to know who I am, what I am and what I have done – serving the country through our people – it means a lot to me. I never expected it. They know me personally, professionally and they know how I look after people at all levels.”
Dr Madhu Patel who is 80 has no plans for retirement, as for her the Army is still the best and most important part of her life. She said:
“Defence has been the most important part of my whole life. “I don’t wear the uniform, but it exists in every cell in my body.”
In 2019, Dr Madhu Patel was awarded her 3rd Silver Land Commander Award which is the 2nd highest commendation in the Australian Army.
As an advice to people who are new to this country and Australian defence family, Dr Madhu Patel says that respecting the commitment they make is very important.
“You committed to do something and you need to fulfil that commitment. You need to know that you are there to look after people in your country who you don’t even know. Be proud to be a soldier.”
Over these 50 years, Dr Madhu Patel has worked across numerous units and regiments which has helped her forge strong professional and personal relationships resulting in a successful career.