Friday, November 19, 2010

Honoring veterans and their families

COMMEMORATING HEROES: From left, Knight, Davis, Scott, Pugsley, Parrish and Slavin

Among the hospital's nearly 23,000 employees, many have served or currently are serving the country or are a family member of a serviceman or woman or veteran. To pay tribute to veterans and their families, the MGH hosted a special Veterans Day breakfast event Nov. 11 in the Bulfinch Tents. More than 70 guests attended, including Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; Jeff Davis, senior vice president of Human Resources; Katrina Scott, MDiv, chaplain for the MGH Cancer Center; and John Parrish, MD, executive director of the Red Sox Foundation and MGH Home Base Program, which provides specialized clinical services for veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars affected by post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.  All offered remarks at the event.

"One year ago we embarked on this journey together, to create a 'home base' for the young men and women who have put themselves in harm's way to protect our country," said Parrish, a former Marine Corps medical officer who served in the Vietnam War.  "For many of our local heroes, we're their best chance at getting reconnected to what matters most. I'm humbled by how far we've come and by the exciting road ahead."

Following a "roll call" by Roger Knight, veterans outreach coordinator for the Home Base Program, who invited veterans from each branch of military service to stand and be recognized, Lori Pugsley, RN, BSN, MEd, nursing director for MGH Obstetrics, Newborn and Family Units, offered a moving reflection on service. Her son, Robert, currently is serving in Afghanistan.

The event culminated in a panel discussion, "What Veterans Day Means to Me," moderated by John Fromson, MD, of the Home Base Program, with speakers Alan McPhee, of Nutrition and Food Services and the U.S. Navy;  Andrew Gottlieb, FNP-BC, of Occupational Health and the U.S.  Army Reserves; Rebecca Coburn, of Police and Security and the U.S.  Air Force; Russ Wallace, of Buildings and Grounds and the U.S.  Air Force; Sean Kennedy, of the Home Base Program and U.S. Army; and Pugsley.

The event concluded with a prayer service to honor members of the armed forces and their families. Throughout the rest of the day, members of the Home Base and MGH Employee Assistance programs distributed red, white and blue ribbons to veterans and yellow ribbons to family members of veterans and the MGH community to show support for all those who are serving or have served.



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