Love's manager returns to active duty to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
Staci Lynch is getting ready for a big change as she revisits her past to secure a better future for her community and country. As the general manager of Love's 405 in Brunswick, Georgia, she has led her team through numerous operational changes to help protect Customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That will all change next week when Staci temporarily leaves her Love's family. As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, she will be deployed to the 377th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) headquarters in New Orleans.
From there, her unit will provide command and control of other Army units in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Servicemembers will support FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide planning, communication and logistics support to move medical supplies and other essential items throughout the country.
"When I got the call, they told me 'We need your help. How soon can you get here?' I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little anxious, but we're going to get through this together and emerge stronger and more resilient," Staci said.
The Army unit is no stranger to rendering life-saving services in times of crisis. The 377th TSC was deployed in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and after Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast in 2012. This time the unit will be busy helping distribute much needed medical supplies and providing support to medical professionals.
For Staci, returning to active duty means returning to a life she knew for nearly seven years in the Army.
"I originally joined because I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself," she said.
After finishing basic training in 2012, Staci completed officer candidate school and became an JPGAir Defense Artillery Officer. She spent time in Jordan, Israel and Qatar and ended active duty in early 2019 as a Division Air and Missile Defense Operations Officer.
When Staci was ready for a new start in a civilian career, she cast a wide net.
"I interviewed with 13 companies and Love's was the one that made me feel the most at home," she said.
Staci hit the ground running as an operations manager at Love's 561 in Mossy Head, Florida. Her leadership skills from active duty shone through and eight months later she was promoted to general manager. She found the "team first" culture at Love's not that different from her experience in the military. Staci moved to her current store in Georgia in January, just weeks before COVID-19 concerns began closing businesses around the country.
"This past month has been a whirlwind, but I couldn't ask for a better team to continue delivering on our commitment to our Customers," Staci said. "Everyone has executed these changes as flawlessly as possible."
When she travels to New Orleans next week, Staci will join the more than 1,900 servicemembers fighting the pandemic, many of them coming out of retirement to serve their country.
Staci told the Army she needed a couple weeks to prepare her store team for the management change. An additional operations manager who is already assisting the team at Love's 405 will continue to support the store.
The Army told Staci she will likely remain on active duty with the 377th TSC through at least the end of September. She takes comfort in the fact that there's a team of truly Great People Who Care back at home waiting for her. Staci's district manager and division manager have ensured her she has a leadership role to return to at Love's.
For now, Staci is focused on her new mission and she knows her team in Brunswick, Georgia, is in good hands.
"My unit's motto is 'can-do, anytime, anywhere.' This is a no-fail mission, for Love's and the Army. We're going to be there for those who need us," she said.