Every year, Veterans Day is special. It’s a time to recognize and appreciate those who have served in our country’s military – those who have protected us, who’ve kept peace around the world and who’ve fought for our freedoms.

At St. Charles, Veterans Day hits close to home this year, thanks to the 150 or so members of the Oregon National Guard who have been working in our hospitals over the past couple of months.

Their help has been invaluable. They have cleaned rooms and made beds, delivered food, screened people at entrances, and generally done the jobs that need to be done in order to keep a hospital running smoothly. You can read more about their work here.

More importantly, they have done the jobs that allow our caregivers to focus on providing our patients with the best possible care. And they’ve done it all gladly, without questioning the need or the importance of the tasks they were given. That’s the military mindset: Give them a job and they’ll do it, and do it well. Show them a gap in resources and they’ll fill it.

I know I speak for our caregivers when I say that being able to call on dependable people who’ll capably handle whatever work comes their way has been absolutely critical over the past few months as we have weathered the biggest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I also must acknowledge the sense of pride and gratitude that I have felt in recent weeks any time I encountered a person in uniform on a St. Charles campus. Their mere presence has been a good reminder of our commonality as Americans, the restorative power of serving others, and that we are stronger together than apart.

That is what the Oregon National Guard brought to St. Charles. Not just helping hands and feelings of relief, but a spirit of servanthood that has buoyed our health system in extremely challenging times.

We are forever grateful to them.

And to all Veterans out there: Thank you for your service. You represent the best of us.


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