Veterans Day

November 10th, 2017

Nov. 10, 2017 — Nearly 300 military veterans work at JPS Health Network, many drawn to JPS by a longing for the sense of purpose and mission that is ever-present in the military but absent in many civilian careers.

Veterans Day 2017

Retired Col. Kimberly Olson, one of the first female combat pilots in the Air Force, urges veterans at JPS to serve their communities.

Retired Col. Kimberly Olson, featured speaker at this year’s Veterans Day Breakfast Celebration, lauded their decision. “When you take the uniform off … you must continue to serve,” said Olson, a pioneer among female combat pilots in the Air Force, who was deployed to Iraq as a prominent member of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. She now lives in Mineral Wells.

“You lived to bear witness. You lived to lead again,” Olson told at least 100 JPS team member veterans at the annual event.

Jeremy Whitford, who chose JPS after 16 years in the Marine Corps, said his work as an operational effectiveness specialist in Performance Excellence fills what otherwise would be a void. “In the Marines, whatever your job is, everything you do helps the ones who are on the ground.” Likewise, “at JPS, every single job you do helps the people on the front lines” providing direct patient care for the communities JPS serves.

That’s not all Whitford’s former and current occupations share in common. “In the Marines, it’s always about ‘do more with less,’” he said. “The unwritten motto of the Marine Corps is ‘adapt and overcome,’” common themes in JPS culture, as well.

Veterans are at work across Tarrant County’s public healthcare network. Police Sgt. Bryce Hardin, an Air Force veteran, led the Pledge of Allegiance at Friday’s ceremony. Police Officer Joseph Elliott (Army) and Nurse Tiffany Greenwood (also Army) officiated Presentation of the Colors. Nurse Manager Nancy Radtke (Air Force) joined Whitford in the Fallen Comrade Tribute.

The Rev. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jr., immediate past chair of the JPS Board of Managers, is a Vietnam War veteran. In moving remarks that brought fellow veterans to their feet for a standing ovation, Emerson made an impassioned plea.

“It was when I returned home that I realized why I had been there. Yes, we say we fought, but what we fought for was peace here.” Referring to extreme violence so often in the headlines, he said, “We have got to make a decision about how we’re going to impose peace in our own nation.”

“When we were in that foxhole, we were partners together. It ought to be the same at home,” Emerson said. “We have got to resolve to ensure that peace resides here. We are brothers and sisters, and we ought to take care of each other.”

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