State Representative now a chaplain assistant

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

Chaplain assistant and Staff Sgt. Royd Chambers epitomize public
servant; just check out his credentials – high school teacher, member
of the Air National Guard and oh, yeah, a State Representative in the
Iowa House of Representatives.

It’s not every day that a state representative offloads injured
patients at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Sergeant Chambers, 44,
does, and his experience will serve him well back in the State House of

“The benefit is you realize that there is another world out there – a
military world,” he said. “The lifestyle, the discipline, knowing what
it takes to get the mission done, helps in this situation, as well as
in the civilian world.  It’s extremely valuable knowledge to
have.  I feel very fortunate to have been sent on this deployment.”

He said that when he gets back to the Iowa House, the first thing he
will do is request an update from the Iowa Veterans Administration to
make sure returning National Guard troops are getting the care they

“Iowa has reacted in positive ways to serve returning military
personnel,” said Sergeant Chambers, from the 185th Air Refueling Wing
in Sioux City, Iowa.

“But the questions still need to be asked, is Iowa stepping up to the plate? Is there more we can do?
“Seeing what I have since being here at Landstuhl makes me want to
safeguard our returning troops even more, if that is possible.” he
said. There are some aspects of veteran care not covered by the federal
programs, for which the state is responsible. The state and counties
are responsible for making sure veteran benefits are accessed. “Do we
have the proper logistical infrastructure within our VA to provide
ongoing physical and mental care? Are we adapting that infrastructure
to meet the needs of today’s Soldiers and Airmen?  That’s what I
want to know.”

Having been at LRMC since June 28, Staff Sgt. Chambers has not been
able to campaign. While on active duty, political activity is not
allowed. He has missed all the Iowa summer parades, festivals and
political events. He currently is serving in his second two-year term.
But, lost campaign time does not bother him a bit.  In fact,
Sergeant Chambers said he would welcome another deployment.
“Truthfully, this has been the most rewarding work I have ever done,”
he said. “It’s ironic that it has also been the most disturbing.”

Sergeant Chambers said working in a military hospital close to the war
zone certainly can go from pleasant to saddening in the blink of an
eye, but it’s an experience to cherish nonetheless.

“I believe I am called at this time in my life to be a public servant,
and that I can have a purposeful mission in whatever capacity,” he
said. “I wish there were more people in Congress and state government
who were members of the Reserves or National Guard. An experience like
this would be good for them all.”

Sergeant Chambers also hopes his experiences are positive examples for
the young people in his school district and legislative district. “I
hope my public service shows my students what it means to be a
citizen,” he said.