September 9th, 2015 San Antonio, Texas
As ASOP Director, I am sometimes put in position of great honor representing you, the membership. This was the case on my recent official visit to Ft. Sam Houston, TX. The day was coordinated by Registered Orthopedic Technologist and new Master Caster, Sergeant First Class Heather Flores who is in charge of maintaining and advancing the scope of practice for Army orthopedic technologists. I am no stranger to Ft. Sam having graduated from both Combat Medic School and Advanced NCO Academy years before. This official visit to the home of Army Medical Headquarters comes just a few months after the ASOP ROT Certification received recognition by the US Army. SFC Flores presented me a Vietnam Veterans hat in front of an old, Vietnam era “Huey” helicopter, for recognition of my service and SGM Jose Cotto presented ASOP an Academy of Health Sciences Commemorative Medallion. I will be wearing the hat at all ASOP meetings. It means a lot to this old soldier.
I was then wisked away for a special tour of the Army Medical Museum by Dr. Sanders Marble, Senior Historian & Mr. Scott C Woodard, Historian of Medical History and Randy Swan, museum curator. I was asked to supply some pictures of my time in Vietnam so they can be included in the Museum’s collection. ASOP was presented with a book on the Medical History of the US Army by Phillip A. Reidinger, US Army Medial Department Communications Director. The museum has medical collections from the all US wars. Amazing to see how medics tried to save limbs and lives without modern knowledge or machines.
Up next was a tour of the NCO Academy led by the Academy Commandant, Command Sergeant Major Alexis King, I was presented with the NCO Academy Commemorative Medallion to remember my visit. I also toured the new Distance Learning section with SFC Antonio Young. ASOP has had distance learning courses for 16 years. I shared some of the software we use with SFC Young. He was impressed by our new “textbook online” software
The last part of this historic day was the most dramatic and influential. A visit to the Center for the Intrepid. It is here we see the true cost of freedom. This center is one of only three advanced rehab facilities for our Wounded Warriors. It contains all necessay equpment and people to help those with missing limbs and other severe injuries return to an active life under one roof. It is truly amazing. I was given the VIP tour by Kathleen Rasmussen. She truly has a passion for her job as many of the caregivers do.
From the advanced water therapy (they have a cool wave machine) to the prosthetic shop, every veteran recives the most advanced care possible. Families have residences to stay at during their loved ones rehabilitation. Many have over a year of rehab to go through. It is tough on the family and veteran. I decided right then to start my semi-retirement right…..ASOP is going to raise a million dollars for these centers to help with uncovered family expenses of these Wounded Warriors. We will do it through matching contributions of our membership and other fund raising abilities we have on a nationwide basis. I look to start the fundraising on December 1st with a special surcharge on all ASOP memberships. If you pay an extra $25.00 for the two years membership, ASOP will match that with a $25.00 donation. Now that’s a $50.00 donation. Then you go to your Doc and get him/her to match that $25.00. Now we collected $75.00. I think we can collect $75,000 the first year. I don’t play golf or fish…….but I can do this.