C. M. Russell High School Alumni

Great Falls, Montana (MT)

Alumni Stories

To view the rest of your C. M. Russell High School Classmates you must first

Leo R. Winburn

Class of 1972

In May 2007, when Leo Winburn, REH, CHESP, Director of Housekeeping for Sather Airforce Base/U.S. Forces Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, received a call from a recruiter asking if he would be interested in a job overseas at the infamous Baghdad ER, it was, understandably, a very hard decision.

“I had just started the Pikes Peak Chapter of IEHA, had a 5-year contract renewal period at the U.S. Airforce Academy (USAFA), and would be leaving my wife, kids, and grandkids behind,” says Winburn. “But, being a retired army vet and having a son who was deployed to Iraq made me want to take the job. The recruiter said they needed someone who not only wanted a challenge, but also wanted to help our service men and women. It was not an easy decision, but my country needed me.”

Two years after Winburn accepted this position, the Ibn Sina/Baghdad ER was officially handed back to the Government of Iraq as part of the U.S. military drawdown from Baghdad. As one of the busiest trauma centers in Iraq—averaging 300 trauma cases per month—it was imperative for U.S. forces to relocate their hospital quickly. Therefore, in July 2009, LINC Government Service employees (www.thelincgroup.com), including Winburn, were given the task of having the replacement hospital—Sather AFB/U.S. Forces Hospital—operational by August 30, 2009, and cleaning out the Ibn Sina/Baghdad ER by October 1, 2009, to turn over to the Ministry of Health.

“I personally made four trips per day through the Red Zone, transporting my housekeepers and supplies, in order to meet contract deadlines,” says Winburn. “This lasted 60 days, which is equal to 240 trips. But, LINC Government Services took on the task, and we completed it—we had both hospitals running at the same time with the same amount of people.”

Not only did Winburn take part in this huge accomplishment, the Ministry of Health asked if LINC GS would take over the maintenance and housekeeping of the Sather AFB/U.S. Forces Hospital—and stated to the Hospital Commander that it was the cleanest hospital in Iraq.

It’s the examples above that prove Leo Winburn is a True American Hero. But how did this self-starter get where he is today?

From Child to Hero

Winburn was born in Seattle, Washington, but grew up in Great Falls, Montana. As a child, he always dreamed of being in the military, so when he graduated from high school, he joined the Army in order to get out of the small town he grew up in and for the educational benefits the Army offered. For 22 years, Winburn served America and had the opportunity to travel around the U.S. and the world—including Panama, Turkey, Greece, Korea, and Spain.

“I actually got into the housekeeping business about a year before I retired from the Army. I opened a cleaning business in Tacoma, Washington, and had several office buildings I cleaned in the evening and on the weekends,” says Winburn. “Once I retired, I went back to school to become an elementary school teacher. I went to school during the day and was hired on as a housekeeper at Madigan Army Medical Center to work the night shift. About a year later, I decided I no longer wanted to be a teacher and loved being a housekeeper.”

While working at Madigan Army Medical Center, Winburn’s boss was Executive Housekeeper and IEHA member Judy McCool. McCool introduced Winburn to IEHA by taking him to several meetings held by the Puget Sound Chapter. In 1996, Winburn

Military Alumni

Military High School Alumni

Honoring Our Heroes

This area is dedicated to our alumni that have served or are serving in our armed forces!

Lost Class Rings

Have you lost your C. M. Russell High School class ring? Have you found someone's class ring? Visit our Rustlers lost class ring page to search for your class ring or post information about a found ring.

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Happy Holidays!