Legacy Health is proud of its many veterans. We invited them to share their stories, as follows:
I am a veteran from the end of the Vietnam War era. I owe my nursing career to the Navy, as they had a special program to pay for the last two years of university in exchange for three years of active duty. I extended that commitment to be able to have a tour overseas (in Rota, Spain). Though I never saw “action”, as the war ended halfway through my active duty, I cared for many who were affected by it. Later, the GI Bill enabled me to complete my Midwifery Education. My time in the Navy gave me many life-long friends, a great foundation for the nursing career that has lasted over 45 years, and an appreciation for the sacrifices that those in the military make for their country.
Karen Armstrong, CNM, Legacy Silverton Women's Health Group
William M. Bennett, M.D.
U.S. Air Force
I was drafted in the "Doctors Draft" in 1966 just after finishing my training as chief resident in internal medicine at OHSU.I served as a captain in the Air Force as the only internist on a Strategic Air Command base treating 25,000 active duty and dependents.
We had little in the way of laboratory or imaging facilities. It was during this time that I learned to function using time and getting to know people as better tools than any lab test or X-ray. I had to trust common sense and some innate ability to discern whether the patients were sick with something serious or not. Slowly I became more comfortable and became less dependent on doing every test and completely ruling out every possibility immediately, .i.e. low-cost, high- value 40 years before it was fashionable. These were the most valuable two years of my medical training.
William M. Bennett, M.D., Nephrologist, Legacy Transplant Services, Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center
U.S. Air Force
Being a veteran the U.S. Air Force has enriched my experience here at Legacy. The absolute best part about being a sonographer is the one on one interaction I get with my patients during an exam that can last up to an hour.
I especially enjoy hearing about military life from my older veteran patients. There is a bond of camaraderie the instant I tell them that I, too, am a veteran. They quickly open up and share funny, happy, sad, or even scary, but always richly enjoyable, stories with me. We often laugh about how much the service has changed over the years.
If they were stationed in Korea, like I was, I tell them I was stationed in a "different Korea" than the one they were in, thanks in a large part to their efforts. My father was a Korean War veteran and I never had the opportunity to share stories with him about it, so it is special to me to hear firsthand accounts.
My grandfather was stationed in the Pacific and was in the Battle of Okinawa. He seldom wanted to talk about his experiences, so when my oldest patients from WWII are willing to share, I feel it is an extra special privilege as there are fewer and fewer of them alive still. For me, it is getting a history lesson through the eyes of those they lived it and a brief portal to a time gone by. I can't imagine anything more gratifying in my work day.
Rebecca Bishop, Sonographer, Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center
I served aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Tulare (LKA-112), making four West Pacific cruises, primarily working between the Philippines, Vietnam and Okinawa. We provided a Marine Ready Group for deployment. In addition we were in and out of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, moving troops, equipment and supplies.
As a team, we worked together successfully. I learned the value of each of us bringing our unique skills and background to our work, making us highly successful and earning our ship a “can do” reputation.
I think foremost in my career was the ability to be with a wide variety of people from all over the U.S. and being able to be part of a team that always got the job done no matter how long it took. I believe this experience has helped me in my 38-year career in health care.
I am proud to be associated with Legacy for its ability to have the patient in front of all of our decisions and our goal of delivering the right care at the right time. When asked where I work, I am proud to say “I work for Legacy!
David Bolton, Director of Revenue Integrity, Legacy Health
I had spent four years in the Navy between 1977 and 1981. During that time I was stationed on an ammunition ship (Mauna Kea) and an aircraft carrier (Ranger). I had the opportunity to make two West Pacific, cruises visiting Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan.
These travels at that time were fortunately not during any major conflict, although just before getting out in early 1981, I was on a carrier off the coast of Iran during the hostage situation when Americans were being held captive by the Iranian government. Tensions were high, but luckily no military action was needed.
The travels in the Navy allowed me to see different cultures and situations that I otherwise would never have dreamed of. It also gave me a sense of appreciation of the liberties I had enjoyed as an American and understanding that these liberties have been fought for in the past and present are precious.
I received money from the G.I. Bill, which helped pay for physical therapy school after I got out.
The experience in the Navy gave me a "global view" and expanded my mind. I believe it has given me a better ability to relate to the different cultures and people I work with on a daily basis. The military also has a specific structure and hierarchy in some ways similar to a hospital setting. Team work is essential in both for success.
Whether working with a veteran or a patient who may be from a foreign land I have visited, I believe the experience I had several years ago has served me well in my ability to provide excellent patient care and to share this experience with my peers.
Ted Bourne, P.T., Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center
George Brown, M.D.
Serving in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America provided me with a global perspective. I worked with people from different countries with different backgrounds and cultures. I learned to appreciate not only what we have in common but to also value the differences. The knowledge can offer you a richer list of approaches to challenges than if you didn’t have the same exposure to other cultures. When I was stationed in what was then West Berlin, Germany (1988 to 1990), I served as the Commander of the U.S. Army Hospital Berlin. An additional post I held was Commandant of Allied Medical Forces Berlin (U.S., British and French).
In my capacity as commandant, I was responsible for coordinating Allied medical forces should West Berlin come under attack by the Soviet group of forces. The Allied medical forces in West Berlin staffed and maintained a 1,000-bed hospital in an undisclosed underground location. Periodically the Allied medical forces would “fall-in” on the joint hospital and train as if we were under attack and were receiving casualties. We had to learn and understand our different approaches to casualty triage and standardize equipment and supplies. Over the years this training led to many standard operating procedures and the adoption of best practices from each of the nation’s medical services. In addition to the rigorous training, we collectively had a wonderful time getting to know one another as well as enjoying and celebrating our different customs and cultures.
On November 9, 1989, the East German border guards abandoned their check posts. East German citizens began streaming into West Berlin. Allied forces were initially on high alert for an imminent attack. Fortunately, it was rapidly determined that Soviet troops and weapons remained in their garrisons and that an invasion of West Berlin was not in the making. The alert was cancelled. Many of the allied military took off their uniforms, crossed over into East Germany and had a beer with the locals in celebration of the wall coming down. Needless to say, I “crossed over” as well. I’ve benefited from working with people from all over the world, and I think I bring that benefit to Legacy. When I look back, I feel very fortunate to have had the honor of serving in our Armed Forces for 26 years. The investment the Army made in me and my experiences have made me the individual and leader I am today.
George Brown, M.D., President and chief executive officer, Legacy Health
U.S. Public Health
There is a little known uniformed service, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). We are the step child of the military, but we qualify for all the same benefits, serve in exotic places and at times are attached to the military. I know people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are PHS officers who died letting the world know about SARS and other conditions, serving in remote locations doing surveillance for the next big influenza or other disease outbreak.
Most of us served stateside in remote medically underserved areas. I spent four years attached to the Indian Health Service, one year to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and a 30 day reactivation to respond to the Katrina and Rita hurricane events in 2005. About 2,000 U.S. Public Health Service officers responded to this event.
I learned many things working for the Public Health Service. The first truth was, you don’t pick your friends in the desert, they are just whoever you are with. This is fundamentally true in rural environments still. Another simple truth working for the government was that it is better to act and be told to stop, than to ask permission and always be told no. We started a lot of things this way and got a lot more done by demonstrating what was possible or could be done.
My most trying and ultimately proudest moment was the night a 16 year old tried to commit suicide with a rifle. He managed to fillet his face but missed his brain. We all were required to be ATLS certified and this came in very useful. On this night, the nurse and I would perform a tracheostomy, deal with a variety of problems and get him packaged up for a helicopter flight. In very small rural hospitals there are not a lot of staff, an internist can do more than he thinks. He survived quite nicely, though with a few impairments. I stopped by to see him in Salt Lake City a few weeks later. He was very thankful.
The U.S. Public Health Service has not always been known for its ‘spit and polish’, but on our challenge coin is our motto Leadership, Service, Integrity, Excellence. I rather feel proud of that motto because it is the core and ‘fighting spirit’ of the U.S. Public Health Service.
The picture is of me in Alexandria, Louisiana sitting in a Special Needs Shelter, taking a brief moment of rest as we worked hard to help everyone get placed so we could close this final Special Needs Shelter in October 2005 during the Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita response.
Curtis Climer, M.D., Legacy Medical Group - Woodburn
U.S. Air Force
I am an Air Force, Vietnam war veteran and employed with Legacy for more than 30 years. I wouldn't have my job today if it hadn't been for the GI Bill. With their help, I was able to obtain a degree in cardiopulmonary technology that allowed me the privilege of working as a cardiovascular tech at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center's angio/cath labs. We were also able to purchase our first home on the GI Bill.
David Dalton, Cardiopulmonary Lab, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
William R. DeLong
I am a hospital chaplain and I would not have become one without my service in the United States Army as a Chaplain’s Assistant and later as an Army Chaplain. I began my military service shortly after high school in order to gain the GI Bill to go to college and then to seminary.
I am a hospital chaplain and I would not have become one without my service in the United States Army as a Chaplain’s Assistant and later as an Army Chaplain. I began my military service shortly after high school in order to gain the GI Bill to go to college and then to seminary.
What I experienced in the Army, the courage to act in the face of adversity, the openness and respect to all beliefs, and the ethics of caring for all people and meeting them where they are, has shaped me and informs me each and every day at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. At Ft. Dix, New Jersey, I was preparing to complete my basic training requirements and head off to Staten Island, New York, for additional training as a Chaplain’s Assistant. The role of the assistant was primarily to know how to run a chapel to the specific requirements of the chaplain to which you were assigned. That meant that I needed to know how to set up a Roman Catholic Mass, and a Sabbath Service for an Orthodox Rabbi, and a Greek Orthodox service for a Greek Orthodox Priests, etc., etc. Through that experience, I learned the ins and outs of each major faith group, including Islam and Wiccan, Episcopalians and Baptists. And not only did I learn about these groups by books, I was also assigned to a chaplain who represented each of these religious traditions. The lesson I learned is that people deserve to have their religion respected, acknowledged and supported, especially in times of stress and crisis. Later I was assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina (having already survived the US Army Jump School at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and subsequently learning how to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft) to go to where the people are rather than to wait for them to come to a chapel. I learned the importance of meeting people in their own space (the essential model of the hospital chaplain) whether it is gunners or helicopter pilots, tank commanders or mechanics. As I accompanied chaplains in the field with soldiers who were away from home, having financial problems, relationship problems, and even concerns about their leaders, I learned the invaluable lesson of going to where the work is … to where the people are! I learned something I practice and teach to our Chaplain Residents every day, “meet people where they are, with the real needs they have, and don’t expect that you already know what those needs are. In other words, LISTEN.”
Finally, I learned from being a Chaplain Assistant and later an Army Chaplain for seven years in the Army Reserve, that if we are going to care for real people in real life, we must be prepared to act in the face of adversity. I have now been a hospital chaplain for over 25 years. And in that time, like you, I have seen health care change, readjust and change again. But never before have I seen the rapid and complex changes that we see in health care today. My time as an Army Chaplain taught me that you cannot sit by and see what will happen. You cannot endlessly pose a question to see if we get it right. In health and healing, we have to act. One of my early mentors Chaplain (COL) Corbin W. Ketchersid was the post chaplain at Ft. Bragg. He was a generous man, a Roman Catholic Priest, and the spiritual and morale adviser to the post commander. He was asked one day by the post commander about a particularly complex situation that involved many many soldiers and their families. He told the commander, and then later said to me, that there are times when not acting –– even if the wrong decision is made –– can be worse for morale than doing nothing at all. I learned from that bit of wisdom to act in the face of adversity, something anyone in the military has learned to do and practice and something I see each and every day at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. I am grateful for all I learned in my time as an Army Chaplain. I salute my fellow veterans and thank you for your service to our country and the care and attention you bring to your role at Legacy Health.
Rev. William R. DeLong, Ed.D., Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
When I first joined the Army to share my health care skills, Ronald Reagan was president and the USSR was our major adversary. Then the Berlin Wall came down, and boy did the landscape change! It has been 29 years so far that I have been participating in an ever-changing world.
I find that what I thought I was doing was mostly benefiting the country but over the years I have seen the immense positive impact this decision has had for me and my family, on my practice, my contribution at Legacy, and the family of Legacy supporting me and letting me serve a long way from home, in a rough part of the world.
I have been stretched well out of my comfort zone; I’ve seen clinical experiences that I would never had dreamed of if I had stayed home, I’ve been able to travel to places that no one usually thinks about as a “nice get-a-way” and met many new friends that are very different from me and special to me. Seeing health care in places like Afghanistan, Oman, Vietnam and Germany have given me a view I wouldn’t have if not for the service I have been called to and an appreciation for what we have.
In my ICU days, early in my career, I had the calmness to deal with the storm, more so than others around me. I could remain calm even in times when all else is breaking loose! My tour of duty in Afghanistan as the commander of a small trauma/shock hospital really deepened my sense of keeping cool in a crisis so others would be settled to do their very important work saving lives. I will never forget that experience, as it let me come back with a much deeper sense of “zen.” Don’t sweat the small stuff, keep your focus and follow through.
The Army has been driving my growth in leadership both clinically and professionally. I believe that a person who chooses this journey has a kind of pattern already burned in that is compatible with serving and my nursing skill set sure fit a need. I have been able to grow along the way and add significant learning’s that add to what I have been blessed to do in 27 years with Legacy.
Peter Gould, Legacy Health '
I decided at the tender age of 18 to enlist in the United States Army. After a couple of years, I felt that I had the potential to be more than what I was. I applied for and received a Green-to-Gold scholarship—a program that created Commissioned Officers out of enlisted troops. Several years later I became a Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corp. A couple years after that, I lead a team of highly trained physicians, nurses and combat medics into the most dangerous province of Afghanistan—Kunar. The attached picture describes a pivotal moment during my time at war:
It was the summer of 2011 and much of the worst fighting in Afghanistan was right on our doorstep. As the Executive Officer, it was my job to coordinate all medical evacuation flights to and from our small hospital. In this particular instance, we had spent over 40 continuous hours taking care of wounded soldiers that were hit by a massive attack near our installation. No one complained—we didn’t have the time. We were fueled by hope and energy drinks. Finally, after all of the soldiers were sent to a higher level of care, one of my soldiers snapped this photo of me. “This is what delirium looks like,” he said, as I smiled for the camera. Although I don’t provide direct patient care anymore, I still value that commitment to healthcare. I’m still fueled by hope (and energy drinks!)
Ramon Guel, Credentialing Specialist, Legacy Health
Richard L. Gunn
I enlisted in the Oregon Army National Guard April 29, 1986. I was 17-years-old. I had to have my Mom sign a release of custody waiver, which she was very happy to do. I had already graduated high school on the fast track when I was 16.
After 13 weeks of basic training and advanced infantry school, I was asked to stay for an additional 30 days to train on the improved TOW vehicle. I complied. Over the years I would receive a variety of training and learning opportunities.
In 1990 everything would change. My first daughter was born and I was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. As a reconciliation clerk, my job was to inspect all line item number heavy equipment that was being off loaded by ship. It was a great job. The Kuwaiti people were the most welcoming and friendliest people I had ever met. I still keep in contact with a couple of friends there.
After the war, I returned home to a hero's welcome. I was very proud of the work that I had done ensuring that all of the heavy equipment, tanks, trucks, etc. were delivered to our soldiers fighting to liberate Kuwait.
I went back to work for one day, when I received a phone call from the Adjutant Generals Office requesting that I interview for Major General Reese's assistant position. I put on my dress blue uniform and reported to the AG's office. I was received by a captain, a major and a lieutenant colonel. They asked me a few questions and led me to the general’s office. I got the job!
Training for this job consisted of executive protection skills, defensive driving, which should be called excessive aggressive driving, hours of defensive tactics and many hours at the gun range. I loved it! Everywhere the general went, I was with him. Every morning at 4 a.m., I received his itinerary. Every hour of his day was scripted. This job allowed me to travel to places that I never would have been able to with any other job.
After eight years with the AG, staff reductions that came with budget cuts ended my career at the Military Department. Thankfully though, General Reese has many connections and I landed a Federal Law Enforcement position.
After 15 years in the Oregon Army National Guard, I decided to take a break. It was April 29, 2001. After the events of September 11 that year, I decided my children needed me at home more than the Army needed me away. As much fun as I had serving my nation and state, I was officially retired.
The skills I had learned in my service that I use at Legacy Health are immeasurable. If I were to choose one, it would have to be my ability to adapt and overcome. There are no impossible situations. Never limit yourself. Be open to change and new possibilities.
Richard L. Gunn, Safety and Security, Legacy Health
I graduated high school in 2003 and immediately enlisted as a 92A – Automated Logistical Specialist for the United States Army for four years. Basically I was a warehouse worker. The military helped propel me into adulthood. I had no guidance as a kid and had very little experience with anything really. My two hobbies at the time were playing basketball and listening to music. I felt an urgency to get out and do something.
I really believe my military service helped me mature quickly and set me up for success in my post military life. The Army gave me a sense of pride and confidence in myself. It also enhanced values I hadn’t fully developed, but knew were in me, such as integrity, honor, respect and especially work ethic. I also learned leadership skills, earning the rank of Sergeant, where I was put in charge of one of several sections of the warehouse my unit ran, which supported the entire brigade.
I’ll share one amusing story. I had just set foot on the forward operating base Salerno, in Afghanistan, for the 2006 rotation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A sergeant from my unit who had been there over a month already was showing us around. All of a sudden I hear, what can only be described as exactly what it was, a rocket propelling through the air with an imposing loud thunderous explosion off in the distance. I jumped out of my skin as I looked up and saw an apache helicopter practicing shooting against the hillside, about 3-4 football field lengths away from where I was standing. The sergeant who was showing us around had a chuckle as he saw all of us had been startled. Needless to say, we got accustomed to those kinds of noises quickly, as we were to be there for the next 15 months.
I ended up using the educational benefits the military provided to me and earned a certification as a Professional Medical Coder, which is what I do for Legacy now. I draw from my military experiences all the time in life and apply it to everything I do, especially my job. I feel honored to have served my country and am very grateful for the opportunities available to me in this great country. I wouldn’t have the position I do now if it wasn’t for the Army giving me such a great start.
Barry Henson, Coding Compliance Analyst, Legacy Health
U.S. Air Force
I served in the United States Air Force, rank of Sgt. from October 1965 till February 1969 as a psychiatric corpsman/psychiatric clinic technician at Wright-Patterson air force base in Dayton, OH. In addition to serving on the psychiatric ward and outpatient mental health clinic, I was part of the multi-disciplinary team working with the first alcohol treatment program in the Air Force. The pilot project was successful as it was later adopted by the Air Force and subsequently other branches of the military. I received exceptional training in the Air Force which positioned me for a job with the Veterans Administration as a Psychology Research Assistant. The positions in both the Air Force and V.A. laid the foundation for my 50 + career in mental health. For 30 of those years I have been fortunate to work in various mental health positions with Legacy.
Dan Hodnot, Q.M.H.P., Caremark Access/Behavioral Health Services, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
U.S. Coast Guard
My Coast Guard career was unfortunately cut short when I was injured in training. I spent 3 months rehabilitating at Samuel J. Call Health Center at Cape May, New Jersey. The corpsmen, military and civilian nurses, doctors, administrative staff, physical therapists and physical therapy aides looked after me like family. While my dreams of a long and distinguished military career were crushed by an injury that changed my life, I developed an appreciation for healthcare like never before. I strive to achieve honor, respect and devotion to duty in my civilian life. Having the opportunity to serve my community by helping to improve healthcare here at Legacy has given my life a new path to be proud of.
Kevin Hoy, Sr. Systems Analyst, Legacy Health
Kraig Hunter, ECMO R.N.
Kraig Hunter is a nurse in Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s Neuro Trauma Intensive Care Unit where he does trauma resuscitation and works with the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) team to provide live-saving care for critical patients.
Hunter’s love for medicine and caring for people grew in the military. “I wasn’t quite ready for college so I joined the National Guard,” says Hunter. He served two years and decided to enlist in the Army and was stationed at Fort Hood, TX, in combat arms.
He served his five years and took a civilian job as a generator mechanic for a 296-bed hospital in Fort Lewis, WA. "I learned teamwork and serving and protecting others," says Hunter. Finally ready for college, he enrolled in a local community college and discovered he had a high aptitude for science. “I was good at anatomy and physiology,” says Hunter. “I see the body as an amazing thing and was eager to learn more.”
Hunter graduated in nursing and joined Legacy Health. In 2012, he received a Daisy Award, a national recognition given to extraordinary nurses. He helped evacuate patients during an electrical fire in a since remodeled area of the hospital. “I can’t picture myself doing anything else,” says Hunter. “I love caring for people, saving lives through trauma resuscitation, and just helping people.” Hunter and is married to a nurse and they have a teenage son. The photo is from his days at Fort Hood.
Kraig Hunter, ECMO team R.N. at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
U.S. Air Force
I received a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1968 and very soon received my draft notice. Rather than taking the chance of becoming an infantry replacement, I joined the Air Force. Soon enough, I found myself in Vietnam as a TOEFL instructor to young men in the Vietnamese Air Force, who once they became proficient in English were sent to U.S. military technical schools, a part of Nixon’s ‘Vietnamization’ plan. This experience changed my life. Being a WASP from a small New England town, I took my country and its privileges for granted. I had no contact with people of other races let alone from the third world. Working with these men every day awakened in me a compassion for others and an awareness of universal desires: to be free from fear and want; opportunities to improve our lives; to have enough to eat and decent shelter; to love and be loved. That awakening has continued to grow over my life, and I feel that has made me a better person and a better employee, to give more and expect less.
Steve Hunter, Legacy Research Institute
Jenny R. James, MS, RN
War is not a place any of us should be, especially the young who are just figuring out who they are as an adult, where they fit in the world and have no grounding for the horrors they will experience. However, in the midst of that horror, occasionally you would experience a lighter moment (sometime slightly bawdy, slightly naughty) that would provide you with a deep breath that would give you a brief respite before the being plunged back in for another day of bad.
My hospital was the 18th Surg, a MASH unit in Quang Tri, Vietnam. One night I was working the "Night 12" in our combined ICU/Recovery Unit. The lights were always at a minimum for safety reasons. In making my flashlight rounds, I was standing at the bedside of a young soldier who had just been brought over from the OR. He had been wounded in the lower leg and was given a spinal anesthetic for the surgery. He had also received morphine for pain and was snoring away. As I was standing there adjusting his IV (we counted drops in those days), he opened his eyes, shook his head and did a double take. I laughed and said to him, "Yes, I am real." He was quiet for a moment and then said, "Why can't I feel my legs?" After I explained about the spinal anesthesia, he smiled and said, “Wouldn't you know it! First American girl I've seen in eight months and I can't feel a thing."
Jenny R. James, M.S., R.N., Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
Brotherhood: As a veteran of the Vietnam Era, I am deeply aware of brother (sister) hood. My OSU graduate study was interrupted by the draft where I instead matriculated into the University of South Vietnam. Without conscious thought, I blended with and bonded to my fellow soldiers, becoming brothers. The bond was as strong as any blood relationship. What lessons we learned together with suffering and sadness and loss. I know two names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall from my company, “Charlie”, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division 1971.
So if I let my gaze penetrate your space, or if I grab your hand, or if I give you a hug, know I see you as my brother, I value you as a person, I delight in knowing you, and I am grateful for our time together.
Steven Kernek, EPIC Pharmacy Analyst, Legacy Health
U.S. Air Force
My time in the Air Force shaped my leadership style in many ways, but my very first experience at boot camp completely redefined my idea of leadership. On day one, about 30 women rode the bus from the airport, destined for six weeks of Basic Training. As we entered our barracks, the Training Instructor (TI) ordered us to put things away and make the beds. We all knew of the tales from our recruiters about the very specific requirements surrounding everything from folding socks to cleaning latrines. We, newbies, were very intimidated at the thought of getting it wrong, right out of the shoot. I decided to just start making the beds, hoping to beg for forgiveness if we got it wrong; others joined in by mimicking my techniques. Half way through, our TI came in and asked who was responsible for these beds. Getting ready to apologize, I stepped forward. The TI cut me off and announced that I would be the Dorm Chief (the trainee in charge of the flight) stating that leadership can be defined as someone who just gets things started, inspires others to follow suit, then works with others to refine the process; it starts with a small task but the same principle applies to the big things too. That’s where my leadership philosophy started to blossom: just get it started and work together to achieve great things. This way of thinking has served me well throughout my life and as a clinic manager at Legacy.
PS – I still make my bed with military corners.
Michelle Kurzhals, clinic manager, Legacy Medical Group
I enlisted in the National Guard in January of 1960. I went on active duty for training in June of that year after graduation from high school. I went through basic at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, in June, July and August. I then was sent to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, and trained as a medical specialist 911.10 MOS. I was discharged and sent home in December of 1960.
In January of 1961 I enlisted in the regular Army and was sent to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, to become a field artillery radar operator. While there I looked over the school and decided to void the commitment and keep my medical MOS. I was sent overseas to Europe and sat in a repo-depot in Munich, Germany, for a month. I then was assigned to a dispensary in Verona, Italy, APO 168 as a corpsman. I ran sick call screening, learned the shot room and did immunizations/screenings of shot records for updates for the entire post, minor surgery attending two doctors on Saturdays, and CQ wherein I delivered, if memory serves, at least nine children in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital in Vicenza, Italy. I obtained on-the-job trained in the pharmacy so the tech could rotate back to the states on time and ran the pharmacy for over a year, compounding cough syrups, ointments, and serving meds, including narcotics to our servicemen and their families.
I was rotated again to Vicenza to the hospital there and took over for the pharmacist who was rotating to the states. I was the pharmacist in charge for over two years (I extended twice, once for six months and once for nine months). I took over as NCOIC a 100-bed field hospital that had failed two inspector general inspections in a row before my arrival. After working on this special assignment for three month, I was given a pre-I.G. inspection, the unit was locked up and no one was allowed in for the next month in preparation for the real I.G. scheduled inspection. A two-star general (Cardwell from Germany) ran the I.G. inspection team. After two days they stood me in front of the warehouse that stored the field hospital and the general told our commander that the unit had passed with a superior after failing twice before and that I was to be promoted to E-5 now, that very minute. They took me to the PX and sewed on the new stripes before I returned to our company area.
I was tested in my MOS as a pharmacist 932.01 and passed the pro-pay test for pharmacy and was promoted in grade to 932.20. When I rotated back to the states I was assigned to Fitzsimons Army Hospital and was discharged in May of 1964. Four years, three months, and 25 days, permanent grade E-5.
This was a quick overview of my service and there are a lot of stories besides the obvious stuff. I really enjoyed it and could have made it my career.
Tom Lovejoy, Safety and Security, Legacy Health
Lewis Low, M.D.
I served for 10 proud years in the United States Army. Those years gave me the foundation for much of my later career successes. It began as I was just finishing my first year of medical school at St. Louis University when it became clear to me that I could not afford to continue without collecting a huge student debt. I had always had great respect for our armed forces and my father was a World War II veteran, so it was an easy decision to accept a health professionals scholarship from the Army. In return for covering the cost of school, I agreed to serve.
I soon found that the service component gave more to me, than I gave to it. My time in the Army was simply some of the best of my life. I got to do things that I would never otherwise have done, like fire an M-16 rifle and a 9 mm personal weapon, repel from a tower, fly in Army helicopters, visit the Pentagon, spend time on Navy ships, and care for the men and women who serve our country so well. The Army also helped set my career course by giving me early leadership roles. I found myself leading not only physicians, as the chief of critical care, but also soldiers, as an officer. My Army time was full of ‘tough’ assignments, starting at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, followed by Letterman Army Medical Center at the Presidio of San Francisco. I then did my critical care medicine fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., and spent the remainder of my years at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Washington.
I am left with some powerful lessons from my Army time. That being part of an organization that exists to serve a ‘greater good’ is very motivating and a reminder that there is more to life than our individual worlds. That the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces are among the finest that America has to offer. And that I am a better citizen for having been part of the United States Army. Probably one of the best benefits from my service are the friends that I still stay in touch with today, and the automatic link that it gives me to other veterans that I meet. The connection that occurs between veterans is very strong. I like to say that my fraternity was the United States Army!
Lewis L. Low, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Legacy Health
During my time in Iraq as a Combat Medic I learned so many valuable lessons, like when people are working towards a common goal they often come together to achieve such goals. I worked alongside of some great doctors and nurses as well as other medics from all different military units from all over the United States, and no matter rank, race or gender we all had that common goal of wanting to help people to get better. As a soldier you learn to be part of a team and realize every person in his or her role plays a key part in getting the job done and completing the mission we were all sent there to do. Not only do you want to complete the mission successfully and help other people, but you yourself want to go home at the end of the day which is another common goal during a wartime mission. These are some of the lessons that help me do my job as a Safety and Security Officer here at Legacy Health and I’m proud to be part of such a great team.
Keith Moulton, Safety and Security Officer, Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center
Mike Newcomb, D.O.
When I joined the Army in 1973, I did so because I needed a way to pay for medical school without incurring a large debt, and the Health Profession Scholarship Program was without doubt the best vehicle I could find. I had no intention of staying in the Army one day beyond my obligation, which would have been 4 years. When I left the Army 22 years later it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. So what changed?
Service to our country in the U.S. Army provided abundant challenges and opportunities. Not only did it take us around the world and back again, it also provided the best professional development and education programs I’ve ever seen in any large corporation. While most of these programs were voluntary (some you had to be competitively selected for) all along the way they were there to help you to the next leadership level. They taught you how to analyze problems and challenges, make decisions based on the best available data and to develop solutions for yourself and those you lead.
There were so many experiences that I could relate, but the one that stands out the most for me occurred when I had the honor to command the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) when it was deployed to the former Yugoslavia during the conflict between the Croatians, Serbians and Bosnian Muslims. We were actually assigned to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and were there to provide the hospitalization needs for the over 15,000 soldiers (and some family members) who were sent from 39 different nations to try to stabilize the conflict. While the differences among these various constituents were great, there was, for us, one common denominator. Whether the language spoken was Gurkala (Nepalese), a sub-Saharan African dialect, Spanish from a Central or South American country, Korean, French, Finnish or the King’s English, when they were sick or injured they were all frightened and in need of comfort, care and consolation, which was provided by American health care professionals with an abundance of each. To this day I remain immensely proud of the work they did under very challenging conditions.
Finally, service in the military taught me the joy of working in an organization with a common culture and a common purpose. I experienced how incredible things can be accomplished when everyone strives to achieve a common goal. The decision to leave the Army was a difficult one but in retrospect one I don’t regret. At Legacy I’ve found an organization of incredible, dedicated professionals with a common culture and a common purpose who have for a long time and who continue to accomplish great things every day.
Mike Newcomb, D.O., Chief Operating Officer, Legacy Health
In 1985, I was accepted into the Army-Baylor Physical Therapy (PT) program and received direct commission to Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Specialist Corp. After 15 months of school in San Antonio, I was awarded my MPT. I served four years in San Francisco at the Letterman Army Medical Center. I gained valuable experience in a large hospital setting. From orthopedics, general medical, neuro, cardiac to ICU, inpatient as well as outpatient, as I worked with active duty troops, retirees and their families.
While in California, I witnessed the massive 1989 earthquake that caused the Bay Bridge collapse and worked with some of the victims of the disaster. From San Francisco, I was transferred to Ft. Eustis in Virginia where I remained until I left service in 1992. There, as a captain, I gained useful management skills as Chief of the PT Clinic. I’m proud to have served our country and aided in the healing of troops across the country. These various tours developed my love for doing Acute Care PT working in the hospital setting.
Nancy Parsons, P.T., Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center
As I kid I would love hearing my grandfather's stories of WWII and my uncle's experience in the 7th Cavalry in Vietnam. I felt like I needed to continue what my grandfather and uncle had started. I enlisted in the United States Army Sept. 7, 2004, knowing our country was conducting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I wanted to follow my uncle's footsteps and signed up to be a 19D (Cavalry Scout). I spent the next 20 weeks at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for Basic Training and Advanced Individual training. Shortly after Fort Knox, I received orders to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. The army was in a transition and hadn’t setup (RSTA) Reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition units in the 101st. Normally, Cavalry units are attached to heavy armor like M1 Abrams Tanks or Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Instead I ended up with C Co 4th Battalion (Air Assault ) 101th AVN 159th CAB. Our battalion commander wanted scouts to preform Door Gunner duties in UH60L (Blackhawk Helicopters).
As a door gunner, our responsibilities were to protect the crew and personnel on board no matter the cost. I was very grateful to be selected! The next nine months were spent on the range, prepping our gear and preparing for a 12 month tour in Iraq. Deployed to Balad, Iraq, early October 2005 and began flying combat missions over Iraq right away. Our unit worked directly with Army Corp headquarters so we were handed a variety of missions. We conducted Air Assault operations with Special Operation Forces, Ariel Surveillance with the FBI, transported EPW's (Enemy Prisoner of War), Medevacs, provided security and transport for Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense From 2001-2006, the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other VIPs.
We also transported PAX (personnel and equipment) from larger Logistics Support Areas to smaller forward operating bases and combat out post throughout Iraq. We also assisted with the recovering of a Kurdish mass grave that was discovered near Basra, Iraq. I was able to work with many NATO partners during my time in Iraq, including British, Australian, Polish personnel. We flew 6-8 hours a day depending on the mission and worked 16-18 hour days. After 12 months of flying, I ended up with more than 700 hours of flight time over the Iraqi skies. In that time we had multiple near midair collisions, mechanical failures and came under constant enemy fire from Anti-Aircraft, RPGs and RPK. I left Iraq on October 26, 2006 back to Fort Campbell, KY and finished the rest of my four-year enlistment in Kentucky.
I feel my deployment helped me prepare for the future in many ways. I felt proud of the missions we completed and that I left Iraq a better place than when I arrived. Since serving In the Army and in Iraq I feel I am able to handle stressful and complex situations with a clear and calm demeanor. Having been through so much in such a short time I really appreciate the small things in life. I met amazing people, created relationships that can never be broken and walked away with a new outlook on life. I also went to Afghanistan as an Infantryman with D Co 2-108th Infantry New York National Guard from January to October 2012, but that’s a whole different story!
Brendon Passano, Safety and Security Officer, Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center
U.S. Air Force
I served in the Air Force, as did my brother, my son (20 years), my nephew and my other nephew who is at West Point right now. I was headed for Thailand to load bombs on B-52s, but was pulled out to go to Germany, where I spent two and a half years. I saw most of Europe and really had a great time in Germany. I am honored to serve my country, and am very proud of my son for his service also. Anyone who gave up their time to serve our country should be thanked.
Dennis Peoples, Facilities, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
When I turned 17, I wanted to be John Wayne. So I enlisted in the Marines with my parents’ blessing.
I come from a family of immigrants (from Jugoslavia, the former Balkans) and am first born in North America. Since I was little I wanted to be a Marine, and my parents supported my service to the country. As my Dad said, “To serve the great country that has given your family its freedom and opportunities…” So off I went three days past my 17th birthday, September 1975, Vietnam was over and I proceeded to earn the title of Marine serving in a “peacetime” Marine Corps, with a deployment to Central America for jungle training and drug interdiction/observation missions against the newly spawned cocaine drug cartels, subsidizing the FARQ rebels. The toughest battles were at home, during a time that military service was shunned and berated by the public. Combat and service vets were struggling with their identities and pride. Sacrifices made, unappreciated or belittled. Watching my mentor Vietnam vets struggle with this was painful. Some peace … I pledged to never let that happen again. In the next four years active duty I received an education in life that would continue to serve me to this very day.
Service and accountability in your job. Pride in your work, and showing integrity and motivation in everything I do. I learned how to punch through being tired and continue to focus. I learned how to conquer fear and deal with emergency situations, or delegating/assisting my teammates. This prepared me in many ways for my future service as a biomed while serving 21 years at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and 9.5 at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. I learned in the Marines what it means to be on a team and what friendship really means, when your lives and/or mission success depend on each other, and others depend on you to get your job done. Nicknamed “Gonzo,” I learned to look for the humor in life, and make others laugh, and be there for them when they cry. I am thankful for every day, and for the blessing of my beautiful bride, Rachel, for the past 32 years. I am thankful for the great shipmates and friends I have known and cherished over these past 30 years at Legacy. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my beloved country. “Semper Fidelis.”
George Pobi, Clinical Engineering Department, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
Ronald Prauner, M.D.
My introduction to the military was through the “Health Professions Scholarship Program” (HPSP), a fantastic program that pays for medical school tuition in return for a service obligation to the uniformed services. In my case, I accepted the scholarship offered to me from the Army. Little did I know that accepting the Army HPSP scholarship would lead to a wonderful 25-year career in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. My time in the military has had a tremendous impact on me and I feel grateful for this opportunity.
I do not consider myself to have come from a military family and have to admit that when I accepted the HPSP scholarship, it was more for the financial benefit rather than from a burning desire to join the Army. However, I quickly learned to appreciate the military, the military culture and the unparalleled sense of community and camaraderie. I fully embraced what it meant to be an “Army physician” rather than a “physician who is in the Army.”
The Army’s values are spelled out in the acronym: LDRSHIP. This stands for loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honesty, integrity and personal courage. Members of the military come from every type of culture and socio-economical background that you can imagine. The only way a military unit can be successful is for each member of that unit to fully live out the core values of the military and be willing to be part of something “bigger”, something that transcends their own personal lives and aspirations. This is true for the military medical units, as well as the more traditional operational units (infantry, artillery, etc.) A sense of commitment is developed, focusing on the bigger mission as a whole, rather than individual goals.
Various military assignments over the years placed me in Hawaii, Kansas, Washington, D.C., Texas and Iraq. In additional, I had several temporary duty assignments to numerous places in Asia and Central America. At each assignment, it was commonplace to have people come and go. In addition, during many of the short-term assignments, I often found myself working alongside other individuals who I have never met before and in environments that were often very austere. Learning to quickly adapt and become part of a team with an outward focus on the mission rather than inward focus, is the only way to be successful with the mission that you have been given.
In my 25-year military career, learning to appreciate other’s differences and recognizing similarities has been a very exciting adventure. Being flexible without bending on your core values and being able to be part of something “bigger” than oneself have been beneficial to my recent employment here at Randall Children’s Hospital.
As my military career was coming to an end and I began my search for employment as a civilian pediatric hematologist-oncologist, I was attracted a particular phrase in the job announcement from Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. It was the only job announcement that I came across during my search that placed an emphasis on practicing medicine with a “patient- and family-centered” focus. Given the countless sacrifices that military families give, especially during the past 11-12 years of war, it has always my goal as pediatric hematologist-oncologist in the Army to always provide care from a “patient and family centered” perspective. This philosophy was engrained into me by my military medical mentors throughout my career. I am very thankful that see this same philosophy in the provision of medical care by the employees here at Randall Children’s Hospital.
Ronald Prauner, M.D., Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, Randall Children’s Hospital
I suppose my experience as a U.S. Army veteran will be very different from many others. I never served in combat. I never experienced frontlines. I never had my own life threatened. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to save a life either.
I joined the US Army two weeks after completing my Bachelor in Music Performance for Clarinet in 2003. I had been offered a very special position in the Army after winning a competitive music audition. After completing nine weeks of basic training at Fort Sill, Okla., I immediately reported to Brucker Hall, home of the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" where I would work as SSG Shinn in the Ceremonial Band. In the next six years I would provide music for approximately 1,000 full honor funerals at Arlington Cemetery, numerous retirements of top NCOs and generals, two presidential inaugural parades and the burial processions of both Presidents Reagan and Ford. Despite many of the high-profile functions I was a part of, being present at young fallen soldiers' funerals is what remains fresh in my memory. It is what brought me into the field of nursing that I'm in today. I decided I would take off the ceremonial blues and place myself where I can be active in a person's life, not just their death. I am proud of my service to our soldiers and am proud to be a nurse at Legacy where I continue to serve our nation's veterans in a time of need.
Jonathan Shinn, R.N., BSN, IMCU, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
In 1983, I enlisted in the Army with little knowledge as to what I was getting myself into. Other than what my recruiter, my father (former Army) and a few Vietnam veterans I knew told me, without computers it was impossible to really learn what Army life would be like. Having been born and raised in the small logging and fishing town of Fort Bragg, California, (approximately 6,000 people at that time), I lived a fairly simple and sheltered life. My first airplane ride was from Oakland, California, to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Basic Training and Infantry School.
After that, I completed Airborne (Jump) school before being sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to serve the remainder of my four-year enlistment. (BTW, the fact that there are two Fort Braggs is a whole different story!) My unit was focused on fighting in a jungle environment and we spent a lot of time in the swamps of Florida and the jungles of Panama. My last assignment was squad leader in a scout/sniper platoon (Recon) before I was discharged in 1987. In the mid-90s, I decided to work for the military (Army Central Command–Kuwait) as a civilian contractor in the Middle East. My role was that of a Personal Security Team Chief, and I was assigned to provide protection for general officers who visited Kuwait and accompany them with my team to high level meetings at the US Embassy, the Kuwait Ministry of Defense and various other locations, including the Iraq/Kuwait border. Basically, I was with them the entire time they were in country. We would pick them up at the airport, remain with them every waking hour and return them to their quarters for the night. At the end of their visit, we would take them back to the airport. After three years I decided it was time to move back to the states.
As I reflect back, a few things really stand out and I believe these experiences have helped shape my life. When I first entered the military, I was immediately exposed to people from all walks of life and from many different geographic locations. I learned that in the military, where we were from, how we looked or what we believed in no longer mattered. What was important was working together to achieve the same objective. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, I saw racism first hand when the KKK marched down main street under heavy police escort. In Panama, I saw poverty like I had never imagined with families living in plywood shacks. In Kuwait (besides the first Starbucks I ever went to), I spent many hours around campfires in the desert drinking chai with people from the various countries in the region and discovered that people, no matter which country they are from, seem to all want the same thing in life and can get along very well when you take religion and politics out of the equation. So, the way these experiences impact me in daily life here at Legacy are: I believe a team working together can accomplish any task. We all need to look out for each other.
People are basically good and each individual should be treated with respect and dignity instead of being judged based on how they look, where they are from or other preconceived notions. Communication (in its many forms) is extremely important. Diversity makes a team stronger. Every member has something important to add that helps the team reach its goal.
Chris Silva, Safety and Security, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
U.S. Coast Guard
I was enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1985-1989. There is some humorous debate over whether that actually qualifies as military service, considering that we were Department of Transportation at that time and our motto was often morphed from Semper Paratus into "simply forgot us" when it came time for annual budgets.
Nevertheless, it was my honor to serve our nation in that capacity, especially in so far as we had a peace time mission and were able to immediately put our training to work in the real world. I was not a very good machinery technician, and found that I rather more enjoyed federal law enforcement and driving boats to fixing them late at night after the rest of the crew went home. My Master Chief sent me to maritime police academy, and I spent the rest of my tour as a federal boarding officer, which is a fancy title for jumping in free space from one bouncing vessel to another and trying not to end up in a “fail” video.
My tour in Bodega Bay, California, was mostly commercial fisheries enforcement, and in West Palm Beach drug and immigration interdiction. But during the whole time, the best part was search and rescue. There is no better feeling on earth than being part of a crew that finds and rescues someone in peril on the open ocean. There is a Coast Guard saying that you have to go out, but you don't have to return. Our enemy was the mighty sea: beautiful, but cold, merciless and unpredictable. There were many amazing life stories that our team was privileged to see the fear in someone's eyes turn to relief and finally gratitude –– that feeling imparts a meaning to the Coast Guard mission that is difficult to put in words.
The Coast Guard teaches teamwork, preparedness, rigorous repetitive training, real life testing and objective improvement of processes. Our whole Legacy Health team has a very similar feel of working together with a targeted focus on the mission of serving and saving life. I count it an honor and a privilege to be a part of this team.
Safety and Security, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
U.S. Air Force
I wouldn't be here in the lab, if it weren't for my service in the Air Force, for that is were I got my start in the lab field by being assigned to Medical Laboratory school in 1971, after basic training at Sheppard AFB, Texas. It was a 54 week course, with Phase I at Sheppard for about five months of just classes there, then re-assigned to Tachikawa AB, Japan for the OJT (Phase II), portion of course. Then assigned as permanent party at Lackland AFB, Texas, working in Micro and OB/GYN clinic there at Lackland for about a year, before getting orders for Takhli RTAFB, Thailand as NCOIC at the lab there, which was a small 15 bed hospital with two man lab at the tail end of the Vietnam war in 1973-74. There, would sometimes go with the doctors and nurses to the local villages and help with medical screens for the locals. Got to see quite a bit of the country there, the real River Kwai, Pattaya Beach, and Bangkok. Out for a short while, then cross-trained into Personnel in 1975, assigned to Keesler AFB, Miss, then to March AFB, which was a Strategic Air Command base, which one had alerts for possible Nuclear war with then the Soviet Union, which was interesting. Then assigned to Ramstein AB, Germany, again supporting the Cold War against the Warsaw Pact, with drills against possible invasion from them. Got to see a fair portion of Germany, went to Holland, and France while there. Got out for good in 1977. Most interesting and rewarding part was all the fine and wonderful people one served with, folks with dedication to one's country, and each other, which one has respect and memories that last a lifetime.
Paul Steager, Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center
U.S. Air Force
As a 17-year-old high school graduate with no direction in life, war raging in Vietnam, and definitely not college material at that time, I decided to join the Air Force. This was the best decision I have ever made.
Not only did the Air Force teach me an occupation, aircraft mechanics, more importantly it taught me self-reliance, discipline, gave me a direction in life, and I matured faster than I think I would have had I not enlisted.
I volunteered for (I guess I did not know when I was well enough off!) and was sent to Vietnam. I was stationed in the northern portion of South Vietnam, in DaNang. Our outfit handled cargo planes and med-evacs. 10 months into my tour (funny how we called a war a “tour”, like we we’re going to have fun) I was wounded when an enemy rocket blew-up my barracks. Watching the nurses work on us that night I was inspired to become a nurse.
When I was discharged from the Air Force the VA helped my go back to college and nursing school. I graduated in 1980 from GSH School of Nursing and have worked at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center ever since.
Tim Wakefield, RN, Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center
Teamwork, responsibility and strong work ethic are just some of the many traits I gained from serving my country in the Army for six years. Working as a chemical officer in Germany (1989-1991) for V Corps Artillery and 3rd Armored Division, I planned and coordinated all the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Team and individual training within the units.
I was required to work along with civilians, foreign nationals and other branches of the military to coordinate NBC reconnaissance, decontamination and smoke operation training exercises and troop movement. I had a lot of responsibility of which included overseeing the NBC training and certification of over 700 personnel. I worked effectively with a very diverse group of people to coordinate all the training. My strong work ethic ensured the unit was properly trained and equipment ready when it was needed on deployment to Desert Shield. I continue to use these same skills at my current position as a pharmacist with Legacy Meridian Park. I collaborate with nurses, doctors and other hospital personnel to provide the best service for our patients. I am responsible in all aspects of my job to ensure patient safety and I set a strong work ethic and high standards that I hope others will follow.
Sandra Widows, PharmD, Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center
In 2004, I left what I was familiar with, middle class America and a Big Ten university, and abruptly arrived at Ft. Benning, Georgia (home of the Infantry!) for basic training. Culture shock was an understatement and I soon came to realize that this commitment was for four years, or almost 1,500 days of my life, so I better get on board.
The Infantry, and the military as a whole, attracts all spectrums of life. From the kid who hunted raccoons and snakes in the swamps of Louisiana for dinner, to the Detroit kid whose father was a surgeon. From the kid who had been shot in the leg during a job interview in his home town in Russia, to the father just trying to support his family. Diversity from race, religion, ethnicity and class all came together for many different reasons, but for one purpose.
This unified purpose quickly broke down any misconceptions or perceptions of diversity in our unit. Not only because our lives depended on it, but because we learned that our shared experiences brought different strengths and created a stronger unit.
Focusing on the value that diversity added to my unit served me well during my two tours to Iraq. Working alongside Iraqi local nationals, Iraqi military and military forces from around the world, teamwork was imperative regardless of cultural backgrounds in order to complete our missions.
All of these past military experiences have directly impacted my work at Legacy. We are a diverse group of individuals; however, are all here for one purpose. I appreciate the value of diversity as it contrasts the necessary strengths needed to provide good health for our communities and achieve our mission, vision and values.
Scott Williams, Legacy Health