In recognition of Veterans Day, ECU Health hosted a series of special events to recognize veterans from across the health system.

At each of the nine ECU Health hospitals, team members came together at 9:05 a.m. to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to honor the service and sacrifice of those who have served the country in the military.

The morning celebration at ECU Health Medical Center included a moment of silence and reflection as well as a role call for each branch of the military represented.

Mark Dunn, chief diversity, inclusion and talent management officer at ECU Health, shared his appreciation for veterans as the son of a U.S. Army veteran. He said hosting this event for the first time as ECU Health was a special opportunity to welcome new faces to a tradition at the hospital.

“We wanted to make sure we included our friends and family at the Brody School of Medicine,” Dunn said. “I wanted to give a special welcome to our Brody family as being part of ECU Health itself, as we continue to integrate and partner together. At one point we would have celebrated approximately 542 veterans from legacy Vidant, but as ECU Health today we celebrate approximately 1,400 veterans.”

The event gave special recognition to self-identified ECU Health veterans with a pamphlet listing their names.

Brian Floyd, president of ECU Health Medical Center and chief operating officer of ECU Health, offered a reflection and moment of gratitude for veterans and their families during the event — which is typically celebrated outside and near the United States flag that welcomes guests to the hospital — and today took place indoors due to inclement weather.

He said it is a special choice for our military veterans to continue to serve their country in health care, especially in a rural community.

“It’s so important to remember, it’s not just what you do in the military, but who you are in the military,” Floyd said. “That’s why we want to celebrate you today because what you choose to do is service, what you choose to do is honor other people, what you choose to do is sacrifice. At one point, that is military duty but you’re here in this organization because it carries through your life and you’re still serving and you’re still honoring and you’re still protecting.”

Transplant surgeon reflects on U.S. Army service

Dr. David Leeser, a transplant surgeon at ECU Health and a U.S. Army veteran, said he was raised to have a service heart.

When he was accepted into medical school, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army.

“When I was in the Army, we had action in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Dr. Leeser said. “I ended up in Baghdad and it was during some of the surges and we took care of a lot of folks. It’s hard seeing young people in their late teens and early 20s injured in very profound ways that their lives will never be the same.”

Dr. Leeser said it was meaningful to him to be part of a team that helped send veterans back home to their families. He said his military experience is still something he carries with him today.

In gratitude

ECU Health would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our veteran team members and all veterans for their service to our country.