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Review of Duty Calls

By Dr. Gustavo Laabes

Primary Care Volunteer Physician Beige Caps Founder

This book, Duty Calls, is going to challenge you, inspire you, and move you to tears. It is the story of a remarkable woman who dared to speak her mind and use the truth as a weapon to help the most underprivileged.

Some reach the top and stop, but others see it as a stepping stone for new beginnings. Dr. Antonia Coello-Novello is inspiring. She is an extraordinary woman who broke barriers by being the first Latina and the first woman to be Surgeon General of the United States, a three-star Vice Admiral, and the recipient of numerous titles and awards. She reached the sky but always kept herself well anchored on her feet and her heart attached to serving the forgotten.

Her success made her gain the heart of many and, sadly, the envy of some. She overcame all kinds of difficulties and faced each challenge with courage, whether political, professional, or personal.---

In this book, she shares her personal experiences with honesty, humor, and wisdom. It is an invaluable source where you will get the opportunity to know the story of one of the most influential women of our time told in her own words.

She devoted herself to public service and never forgot her Latin roots. She had the opportunity to demonstrate the love she had in her heart when Hurricane Maria, the worst disaster in the history of her native land, swept away the electric and communication systems, the grocery stores, the potable water, the hospitals and caused severe damage leaving 100% of the Puerto Rican population in chaos. Dr. Coello-Novello arrived on the island and put on the soldier’s vision to help the neediest communities. She traveled across the island by any means she could, even risking her own life, to reach the most remote communities and give them not only the essential resources needed, but also the hope and faith they had lost. She impacted thousands of lives who were on the verge of death by transferring them to the best hospitals in the United States. She did not give up, ensuring that aid reached the poorest and most affected communities.

Dr. Novello has accrued more stars than those found in her military uniform. She has added the stars earned by respect, love and admiration of her islanders and her fellowmen.

There is no greater war to fight than that caused by poverty, hunger, and hopelessness. That was the war that Dr. Antonia Coello-Novello; the Surgeon General, the Vice Admiral, the doctor, the Latina, and the woman decided to wage with great courage, bravery, and honor. History will show that she had many medals, but the shiniest one was the one bestowed on her by the admiration of the people that she helped guide during the Maria disaster – the one that gave back hope to all that she touched, during the darkest moment in our modern times.

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