A 2004 Caddo Mills High School graduate gained international recognition this past summer, when she was awarded the second-ever Martelet Cup from NATO’s Interallied Confederation of Medical Officers (CIOMR).

Katie Odom, who went on to earn a Doctor of Science degree in occupational therapy from Baylor University in 2013, is now a major in the U.S. Army and specializes in conducting research in the areas of suicide, PTSD, blast injuries, brain injuries, amputations and burn injuries.

At this year’s CIOMR Summer Congress in Tallinn, Estonia, Odom was selected for the Martelet Cup after presenting her research team’s findings in a report titled “Behavioral Health Management Following a Severe Burn Injury: A Pilot Study and the Way Forward for the US Army Burn Center and Indicators for Brief PTSD Management in Operation."

The award is named in honor of Brig. Gen. Francois R. Martelet of France, who has been a long time proponent of the CIOMR’s annual conference and the sharing of medical research that can be useful for militaries throughout the world.

“I know it sounds cliché, but it’s definitely true in my case, because the only reason I’ve had any success in this (research), is that I work with a very strong team,” Odom told the Herald-Banner.

As her immediate commanding officer, Col. Jerald Chester is proud to work with Odom.

“She’s a pleasure to work with, and she’s caring and conscientious,” Chester began.

“It’s exciting that Katie got the Martelet Cup this year, because she’s only the second person to receive it and it will stay on display at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, so that’s pretty cool,” Chester said.

Odom is currently an exercise and training development officer for the 3rd Medical Training Brigade, Medical Readiness and Training Command at Fort Sam Houston.

Despite her accomplishments, Odom is still proud of her Caddo Mills roots.

“I love being from Caddo Mills,” Odom said. “It was the perfect place to grow up. The people there molded me to be who I am today and made sure I had fun and hard work along the way.

“When I was in high school, I was big into the FFA and loved ag, and I was athletic and did track and power lifting too,” she added.

As it would turn out, though, Odom’s involvement in track led to her being inspired to pursue a career in occupational therapy.

“I got injured doing track, and I had to go through surgery and physical therapy,” Odom recalled. “That’s when I decided I wanted to get into helping people through therapy.

“I’ve also always respected those who served in the military, so I chose to serve as well,” she added.

While Odom doesn’t consider her family to be a “military family,” her brother, Joe Molina, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time with the Marines, he was a helicopter mechanic and he’s now an ag teacher in Prosper, Texas.

In addition to her accomplishments as both a doctor and an officer in the Army, Odom is also a happily busy mother and wife.

“I am a mom of five wonderful kids, ages 11 down to 8 months, and I’m married to a supportive, selfless man (Jody),” she said. “Without them, I would never be able to serve or succeed.”

Travis Hairgrove is a news reporter and features writer at the Herald-Banner and covers city government for many municipalities in Hunt County. To reach him outside of business hours, email THairgroveReporter@gmail.com.

Recommended for you