Healthy Connections honored Dr. Lonnie Sessler with a reception attended by employees and others from the Mena health care community. Dr. Sessler is retiring after 44 years of service, including the past 15 with Healthy Connections.

After graduating from Uniontown (Kan.) High School in 1966, Dr. Sessler received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1970. He also married Sandra that same year.

He received his Medical Degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and went on active duty with the U.S. Navy. He started his residency in Family Practice at the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. He served as a naval physician for seven years in Florida, Tennessee and Scotland.

The family moved to Mena in 1982 and he became managing partner at Austin Medical Clinic, where he served the community for 17 years. He also worked at Mountain View Clinic before starting with Healthy Connections in Mena in 2003.

While working as a family practice physician in Mena, he was also staff physician, and sometimes Chief of Staff, at Mena Medical Center/Mena Regional Health System. Dr. Sessler was also an emergency room physician there, both full time and part time.

His military career did not end after retiring from the Navy. Dr. Sessler joined the Army National Guard and served as Battalion and Brigade Surgeon in the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade. He was placed on active duty and served in Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991.

Over the years, he participated in several foreign medical missions – both through the military and privately. These missions included Panama in 1977, Guatemala in 1990, Ecuador in 1993 and Haiti in 2016 and 2017. He also plans to return to Haiti later this year.

Thanks to Dr. Sessler for all he has done for the Mena community.