Friday, November 18, 2011

Honoring MGH servicemen and women, past and present

SERVICE AND SACRIFICE: Mary Lou Nichols, RN, NP, and Peter Hayes, RN, both of the Preadmission Testing Area.
Nichols served in the U.S. Air Force, Nurse Corp, for 21 years, and Hayes served as a Navy medic during the Vietnam era.

Thank you for your service.” “God Bless America.” “We are so proud of you.” The tributes, accompanied by colorful drawings, were created by MGH pediatric patients to decorate tables at the Veterans Day Appreciation Breakfast Nov. 11 in the Bulfinch Tent. Similar accolades were shared throughout the rest of the day’s events – which included two panel discussions and a prayer service – as employees and senior leaders expressed their appreciation to service members and veterans as well as their families in attendance.

“I believe the military, like the medical field, is a calling. Those who serve give their hearts, their souls, and sometimes their lives so we can live in freedom,” said Krista McCabe Knight, associate director of MGH Development, whose husband, Roger, is a veteran. “On Veterans Day, I am honored to stand before you and say that I am married to one.”

Knight was one of several speakers who kicked off the breakfast event, which was hosted by Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; David F. Torchiana, MD, chairman and CEO of the MGPO; Human Resources; and the Red Sox Foundation and MGH Home Base Program. Cameron Wright, MD, MGH thoracic surgeon and colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps, gave the keynote address, discussing why in 2007, at the age of 51, he followed his son into the military and served two tours of duty, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He concluded his talk by thanking employees who are currently deployed. “I want to call out, wish well and pray for all of the members of the extended MGH family who are in harm’s way,” he said.

Elspeth “Cam” Ritchie, MD, retired U.S. Army colonel and chief clinical officer for the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health, spoke as part of a panel for clinicians regarding the “invisible wounds of war.” Following the panels and prayer service, members of the U.S. Army Boston Healthcare Team served cake to MGH veterans to share their gratitude.

Throughout the day, commemorative ribbons with the word “Remember” were distributed by the Home Base Program in the Main Lobby. It was something many of the presenters urged those in attendance to do more often. “Veterans Day for many is just one day,” said Lori Pugsley, RN, BSN, MEd, nursing director for Obstetrics, Newborn and Family Units, whose son recently returned from serving in Afghanistan. “Remember their service and sacrifice. Remember that every single day is Veterans Day.”  

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