IN NOVEMBER, FACULTY, STAFF, STUDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS gathered to celebrate veterans at UTMB’s third annual Veterans Day Luncheon at the Galveston Campus. More than 100 people enjoyed the event, which honored the U.S. military veterans who work and study within the UTMB community.
The Nov. 8 luncheon was sponsored by several organizations and volunteer
groups, including executive sponsor Victor Moreno, the Office of the President, the UTMB Diversity Council, Trinity Episcopal Church, the Marine Corps League and Pamela Guerrero of Farmers Insurance. Nov. 8 was declared Veterans Day at UTMB in a City of Galveston Proclamation read by Mayor pro tem Craig Brown.
The first speaker, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Matthews, served in the U.S. Army
from 1990-2008. He was injured while on a reconnaissance mission in Mosul, Iraq. After his time in the military, Matthews returned to Katy, Texas, where he currently serves as the Commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter in Houston, volunteers with the Wounded Warrior Project and operates his own foundation, Texas Warrior’s Family, which focuses on transitioning military families. He also manages a food bank in Katy that focuses on military families.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maggie Peterson, one of the first women to be a C-130 Instructor Loadmaster in the U.S. Air Force also spoke to the audience. Her calling, she says, is providing service to others, most specifically veterans, and even more specifically, female veterans.
Female veterans have different needs than males, and Peterson wanted to
create a place for these women to go with their children to be around other
female veterans who could understand similar experiences. She founded
After Military Service, a 501(c)3 organization that’s current focus is on Camp SHiEld, a recovery program for female veterans to ensure they thrive after military service.
Both speakers drove home the importance of going beyond just thanking a
veteran for his or her service. Matthews told the audience that asking a veteran how he or she is doing and showing a genuine interest in the person could make all the difference to an individual who has served in the nation’s military.
The veterans in the audience were given a goodie bag courtesy
of the sponsors, and the Rev. Edward Thompson of Trinity Episcopal Church told the crowd about the importance of the military.
After the luncheon, the crowd walked to Old Red Plaza where Dwayne Jones of the Galveston Historical Commission dedicated a Texas Historical Commission Marker honoring eight UTMB-affiliated physicians who served the nation during World War I.
Devin Reddy, Daniel Bao and Samuel Gao, first-year medical students who are part of the group Music in Medicine, played as the crowd gathered.
The eight doctors, which included one woman who served in the Red Cross,
served in various capacities during the Great War. Some of the doctors returned to UTMB, including Jess Autry Flautt, who established the Ball High ROTC, and William Boyd Reading, who served as the Chair of Pediatrics until 1943.