Air Force Veteran Finds Second Calling

Twenty-year Air Force veteran Bill Thornborrow translated his knowledge gained as a flight line mechanic into a career in cardiology.

“I figured if I can troubleshoot an electric pump and clean out a gas line or two on a machine, I can do the same thing with a heart,” Bill said. “That’s what got me into the Cath Lab. Then, when one of the doctors said someone needed to learn electrophysiology, I volunteered. After a lot of on-the-job training, here I am, 13 years later and enjoying the job to this day.”

Bill was in the Air Force from 1976 to 1996. After retirement, he started working in the field of cardiology for different medical organizations. After a merger, Bill joined OSF HealthCare and works in the Cardiac Catheter Lab at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois.

“I enjoy the challenge of finding where the arrhythmia is coming from in someone’s heart and being able to fix it for them,” Bill said.

Bill is thankful for the training he received in the Air Force. He attributes his preparation for long hours and respect for those above and below him to the training he received in the service. And he encourages veterans take advantage of their experience.

“Make full use of your training you get from your field, as well as your general military training. And if your skill set doesn’t translate to a civilian job, don’t be afraid to venture out,” Bill said. “I figured greasy hands or bloody hands – same difference. You should use your training but think outside the box and the scope of your field.”

As an affirmative action employer, OSF HealthCare invites all veterans to search for available positions.

About Author: David Pruitt

David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelor’s of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014.

An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.

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Categories: Heart Health, Working at OSF