Carole DiPardo's commitment to heart health goes well beyond her job as
a physician assistant at Rhode Island Hospital. It extends to her fellow
service members at Camp Taji, Iraq, where DiPardo deployed with the
Army's 211th Military Police Battalion.
DiPardo is a captain in the Massachusetts National Guard. formerly, she
was also enlisted in the Massachusetts Army Reserve. She went back to
school for her physician assistant degree and after her schooling was
finished, she re-enlisted, this time as an officer in the National
Guard, the position she currently holds. In total, she has a 25-year
In January 2010, DiPardo participated with a friend in a 26.2-mile
running competition in Kuwait. Inspired by that event, she decided to
organize a similar event in Iraq in February —Heart Health Month. She
pitched the idea to her executive officer, and the 100-mile “TAJI 100”
“Heart health is important to me,” says DiPardo. “People need to make
time to take care of themselves.”
The rules of the TAJI 100 are simple, she says. “You have to walk or run
100 miles within the month of February. Treadmill is OK, but biking and
elliptical does not count. Soldiers report their miles and minutes to me
by email - it's the honor system - and I tabulate.”
DiPardo says she made the rules, had a T-shirt designed, sent out a mass
email and voila! “I was expecting around 100 to 150 runners,
and I had to close the registration within 48 hours because we had over
200 registrations,” she says.
DiPardo and her husband Anthony's son, Joseph, was 20 months old when
DiPardo was deployed to Iraq. Every day at 12:30 p.m., just before
Joseph takes his nap, the family got together for a video chat on Skype.
Iraq is eight hours ahead of Rhode Island, so the daily visits took
place at 8:30 p.m. on DiPardo's side of the world.
“I absolutely love my job and Rhode Island Hospital was very supportive,
both before and during my deployment,” she says. “I appreciate all the
kind words, thoughts and prayers, care packages and support from friends
and family I have received."
“Most of all,” she adds, “I appreciate everything my husband has done to
take care of Joseph and keep our home a home. He deserves a medal!”