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Former Army paratrooper in the trenches again, this time against coronavirus

Robert Burns (News-Journal/TNS)

Robert Burns has been in the trenches for most of his life.

The 51-year-old from Long Island, New York spent most of the 1980s as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army. He spent the next two decades as a police officer in New York City before retiring in 2010.

After moving to Palm Coast a few years ago, it wasn’t long before Burns got the itch yet again.

“I was working security for minimum wage and I was like, I’m not doing this,” he said. “I was always interested in medicine, so I went back to school. I’ve just always liked helping people.”

Burns, a husband and father of two boys, spent the next few years at Daytona State College before joining the Emergency Department at Halifax Health Medical Center in 2017.

“There’s always a lot going on in Daytona … a wide array of people and illnesses, so it’s been interesting,” he said with a laugh. “It’s definitely not the same ol’ same ‘ol every day.”

Now, nearly three years later, the former paratrooper and police officer is on the front lines yet again, fighting an entirely new enemy.

“It’s always been a challenge, but it’s just a little different right now,” Burns said of the coronavirus pandemic, which has plagued the country for months now. “We have to be as effective as we can in dealing with it.”

Help support our journalism as The News-Journal covers the stories of the community through the pandemic. SUBSCRIBE HERE.While Burns admitted the virus is “ever-changing,” the New York native said he’s ready to help the world get back on its feet. He’s not alone, either.

“At Halifax, we’re all really like-minded,” he added. “We roll with the punches and adapt best we can. We don’t close here … people come to us no matter what. They rely on us, and we’re always going to be there.”


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