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What Veterans Day Means to Carson Valley Health

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What Veterans Day Means to Carson Valley Health

As your local hospital and partner in health, we are proud to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. Much like the community we serve, Carson Valley Health pays respect and gives thanks to former and current service members today and every Veterans Day.

From leadership positions and security staff to specialists, doctors, and nurses, the 36 veterans among our ranks know what hard work and coordination is all about. For some of the veterans working at CVH, joining the military was a family tradition and happened right after high school. For others, it was an opportunity to earn an education and career in medicine.

Here are a few of their stories:

Jeff Prater - Chief Executive Officer

Jeff entered the United States Navy as a Hospital (0000) Corpsman. After completing boot camp in San Diego, Jeff was stationed in Orlando, San Antonio, Charleston, and Guam where he served as a Physical Therapy Tech.

“After hours I stood EMT duties and was a Pre-Trauma Life Support Instructor,” Jeff said. “A lot of the things we saw was no different than the civilian world, we just had to do more with less. The biggest difference I saw was while I was stationed in Guam. We were the burn center for the Marianas Islands, but most of the injuries I saw were sports related.”

Jeff credits the Navy with helping him to develop a strong work ethic and detail-oriented mind but also believes that you get out what you put into your military experience.

“I had the opportunity to see and do a lot of different things in the medical field from a front-line perspective,” Jeff said. “I think that has helped me understand how the consequences of my decisions will impact the people working here”.

Andrea Highfill - Chief Nursing Officer

Andrea joined the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman after graduating nursing school at 23 years old and performed a variety of duties ranging from patient care and inpatient nursing to managing the overseas screening clinic, which ensured active duty sailors and their families were able to get the care they needed wherever they were deployed or stationed.

“I felt the need to serve,” Andrea said. “ I joined the Navy because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

During her five years in the Navy, Andrea was stationed in Florida, Illinois, and Washington and reached the rank of E5. She credits her time in the Navy with helping her build a variety of skills.

“I will take the lessons I learned in the Navy with me everywhere I go,” she said. “Most of all, it taught me the value of leadership and teamwork.”

Fayne Martini - Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Fayne joined the U.S. Air Force as a X-Ray Tech in 1995 and was stationed at Langley Air Force Base before being stationed at the Air National Guard base in Reno. Cross trained as a medic, Fayne went on to serve for a total of 10 years and ended her military career following the death of her brother in Bosnia.

“For me, the military was an integral part of my life,” Fayne said. “The military helped pay for my college education and led me to the job I have now. Even after my brother passed away, the military was supportive.”

Eventually reaching the rank of Tech Sergeant, Fayne entered the military on a four-year agreement and thinks of her time in the military as a time of growth.

“When I went in, I was pretty shy,” she said. “The military forced me out of that shell and helped me become a better person. I got a lot better at making friends and quickly learned that it is easier to work as a unit instead of as an individual.”

On Veterans Day, Fayne and her friends get together for their own small celebration and remember those they had to say goodbye to. For non-military members, she only asks for the public to cut veterans some slack and remember their sacrifice.

Turner Yates - IT Manager

Enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17, Turner Yates left for boot camp just two months after graduating from George Whittell High School. Turner trained in radio and satellite communication, but wore a lot of hats during his four-year military career that included a year in Afghanistan.

“With the Marine Corps being as small as it is, everybody cross-trains,” Turner said. “I was trained in radio and satellite communications but only touched that once after the training.”

I only spent the last year and a half on that detail, I was with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion for the tour in Afghanistan, and Combat Logistics Regiment 17 prior to that.

Stationed at Camp Pendleton for three years, Turner reached the rank of Sergeant (E5) before transitioning out of the military one year early due to troop drawbacks.

“A lot of the leadership tools I learned as an Noncommissioned Officer in the Marine Corps helped set me up to be where I am today,” he said. “The Marine Corps helped me increase my attention to detail, self discipline, and professionalism. The military is like anything else though, you only get what you put in. They offer you the tools for self improvement, if you capitalize on it is up to you.”

Turner believes it is important to understand what Veterans Day means to soldiers that didn’t get a warm welcome home.

“What’s important to me about Veterans Day is paying my respect to those that came before, especially our Vietnam, Korea, and World War II vets. A lot of those generations didn’t get the respect they deserve and we owe it to them, especially the Vietnam vets.”

David Wood – Security Officer

CVH’s Security Officer, David Wood, joined the U.S. Army in June of 1979, the day after he turned 18 and spent most of his time in Germany.

“Coming into the military the day after my 18th birthday, it was stressed that I was an adult,” David said. “I feel like those three years helped make me become an adult a lot sooner than most people have to. The Army will help you, but you need to take care of yourself.”

Although he was originally trained in communications, David worked on a tactical site in an Air Defense Artillery Battalion and cross-trained with Military Police on security and security protocols.

“It was all fenced in with bunkers at each corner,” he said. “My time doing security around the site got me interested in the career I’m in now. After I got out of the service, translating to my current job worked out really well.”

To help meet the number of volunteer hours required each year, David works the Veterans Lunch at the Douglas County Community and Service Center.

“CVH has a crew that goes over and we help serve all of the veterans lunch and dessert”, he said. “The opportunity to interact with all of those guys that served long before I did is rewarding and I feel lucky to be able to give something back.”

Carson Valley Health supports veteran groups in Douglas County, including Welcome All Veterans Everywhere and invites former and current military members to any of the six locations in Carson Valley and Topaz Ranch.