Mrs. California Universe thanks 418th FLTS for critical help during family COVID crisis

  • Published
  • By Giancarlo Casem
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The reigning Mrs. California Universe brought a message of health to the 418th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Aug. 2, as a gesture of gratitude for the support the squadron offered her family during a COVID-19-related family emergency.

Lynelle DeRoo-Marcos, the wife of Perry Marcos, a Standards/Evaluation and training technician with the 418th FLTS, told squadron members how grateful she and her family were for helping her in-laws in their time of need.

Once it was learned that Perry’s family had contracted COVID-19 and were experiencing severe complications the entire squadron quickly maneuvered into wingman mode.

On Dec. 30, 2020, Perry lost a brother to the COVID-19 virus. Soon after, his parents, eldest brother, and sister also tested positive for the virus and exhibited the symptoms associated with the virus. His family went into self-quarantine. His father could not eat food, but was able to manage to drink liquids. Perry realized Lynelle and he would be their lifeline during this crisis to supply the family’s needs while they were separated from the general public.

The commander immediately told Perry to take care of his family first…

The 418th FLTS commander at the time told Marcos to take care of his family, “they are your priority.” The squadron then went into wingman mode. Office manager Victoria Lohnes organized a squadron GrubHub account for the family which gave the couple a relief from the stressful situation. The turning point came when his father started eating again, Perry said.

“In the end, all four are fully recovered and love of family prevailed, not just immediate family,” Perry added. “When a community of people of all stripes and colors can come together and assist in a desperate situation, reach out and show compassion to its members and loved ones, it solidifies the wingman concept as tangible and viable.”

The experience has left a tremendous impact on Perry.

“I have a new respect for the folks that I work with, they are no longer just friends anymore; they are family,” Perry said. “This experience has given us the insight of appreciation of those we have served, because our extended family, the 418th, returned that same giving spirit to us.”

As a gesture of paying forward the kindness to the 418th, Lynelle volunteered to share her knowledge and techniques in dental hygiene, “as one good turn deserves another.”

“I want to give my ‘thank you’ in a way that would have a long-term positive impact on the lives of others. I can give of myself, my time, my knowledge and my experience,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed volunteering for decades. I absolutely love sharing life-impacting information.

Lynelle comes from a strong dental background. Lynelle began working at her parents’ dental office at the age of 12. Dental hygiene was then a natural course to follow. By the time she was 14, she had earned her X-ray license, by 16, her dental assisting license. And by 18, she received her training and certificate to polish teeth.

She was crowned Mrs. California in early 2021 and she is now a delegate of the Mrs. Universe pageant competition. The pageant is open to married women ages 20 and over. Its focus is on accepting and sharing one’s life experiences and embracing its possibilities to empower others. One of her responsibilities as a delegate is to participate in community service

During her brief, Lynelle stressed the importance of dental hygiene, especially during a time of pandemic.

“My list of diseases associated with gum disease numbered 57…until COVID. Amazingly, it now joins the list,” she explained. “A study published in April this year found saliva to be a host and carrier to the COVID virus. No surprise, really.”

Lynelle considers a healthy immune system to an integral line of defense against illnesses. And for her it starts with teeth.

“Your immune system is like wearing a mask—on the inside. In my talk Preventing Colds and Flu, I point out that ‘flu season’ does not coincidentally start just after Thanksgiving. And, there is a reason it lasts until the end of March,” she said. “Knowing what to do to boost your immunity naturally will be your very best line of defense.”