Early in July, just in time for the Fourth of July celebration, a group of Good Neighbor employees gathered for a photo. What's special about this particular group of employees is that all of them are veterans of the Armed Forces, servicemen and servicewomen who distinguished themselves by serving their country prior to embarking upon their current careers as health care professionals.
The group included: Julio Aleman, who served with the US Army; Janet S. Donath, who served with the US Navy; Detra Early, who served with US Navy; Arthur James, who served in both the US Army Air Corps and the US Air Force; Jessie Johnson, who served in the US Army; and Gary Mack, who served with the US Marine Corps.
The GNHC veterans served their country at various points spanning several decades, from the 1940s to as late as 2012, while most of them traveled extensively during their time in the Armed Forces – from Washington, D.C. to Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston, from Naples, Italy to Vietnam, Korea, and Berlin during the time of the Berlin Airlift, from Camp Lejeune to San Diego and Okinawa, even the USS Enterprise.
"Having the veterans gather for a group photo was just a small way for Good Neighbor to say ‘Thank You!' to its own band of veterans," remarked Executive Director Janet Donath. "When I went into the service, women made up only a very small minority of the active duty services, only one percent during those Cold War years. I was very fortunate to be accepted into the Hospital Corps. After Corps school I was sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital. The Navy gave me the opportunity to gain self-confidence and experiences I would never have had without the time in the service."
Gary Mack drew an interesting parallel between Good Neighbor and the Marines: "I am happy to be working for an organization that has the feeling of unity and camaraderie much like the Marine Corps does. In the Marines they would call it a joint exercise, while GNHC calls it collaborating, or partnering – the coming together of different organizations to form and complete a common goal, to protect (health) and to serve (the public)."
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