Frank G. Willetto, an 84-year-old Navajo Code Talker, renders honors during the playing of the national anthem at a ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., Feb. 19, 2010. In February 1945 the United States launched its first assault against the Japanese at Iwo Jima, resulting in some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

US Family Health Plan Alliance Celebrates Veterans Today and Throughout the Year

Veterans Day offers an opportunity to say thank you to those who have served in the United States military in defense of freedom and democracy.  The six US Family Health Plan health care systems participate in events throughout the year to celebrate and honor our veterans.

For example, Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Center, participated in the annual “Vets Rock” event at Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut for the second year in a row. This event supports the nonprofit organization, Til Duty is Done, and includes a career fair and professional sessions for service members, veterans and military spouses. The event is capped off with a concert that this year featured host Tony Orlando and musical performances by Drop Kick Murphys, Godsmack and Madison Rising.

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“This is personal for me,” stated Maria Green, a retired Army Sergeant First Class and St. Vincent’s US Family Health Plan staff member. “Since retiring, I have devoted my second career to serving the military community.  Being a retired service member, I know first-hand the needs of veterans.  I do my best to provide valuable information on available resources to my fellow veterans.  This event in particular covers the full spectrum of resources from employment opportunities to health-related information and individual well-being seminars—and a dynamic closing concert to boot!”

For more than ten years, St. Vincent’s has also hosted “Breakfast with a Hero” to honor members who serve or have served our nation and which provides an opportunity for US Family Health Plan members to share stories with staff and friends over breakfast.

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“We look forward to this day,” said Debbie Sorrentino, practice manager at the Fort Wadsworth Family Health Center.  “Everyone gets involved in setting the stage for this day. Our staff starts decorating two weeks prior to Veterans Day.  This year, we created a flier to remind patients to come by and celebrate with us.  The word spreads quickly, and our patients schedule their routine appointments on this day to participate in the festivities as they check in on their health.”

Another US Family Health Plan organization, Christus Health, participates in the “Houston Salutes American Heroes” event with the City of Houston, a celebration that features a job and resource fair, a recognition ceremony honoring local heroes, and a parade of heroes. This year, Christus Health will provide health screenings and flu shots to more than 1,000 veterans and those in need, hosting games and other interactive events throughout the day.

These kinds of events allow the organizations that participate in the US Family Health Plan program to give back, in a small way, to those who have given so much to our great nation.  In honor of all who have served, the US Family Health Plan organizations express their sincere and enduring gratitude.