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Each year on Veterans Day, Vidant Health honors and thanks the nation’s military veterans for their bravery and service for our country.

This year, ECU Health Medical Center (VMC) hosted a Veterans Day celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 10, to honor the nearly 500 veterans, in addition to the hundreds of military and veteran family members and those currently serving in a Reserve or Guard capacity, who are Vidant team members. Team members who have served in all branches of the military attended the event at VMC, which began with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Reverend Raynard Griffin of Vidant’s pastoral team led attendees in prayer to reflect on their service. Van Smith, executive vice president at VMC, thanked team members for their service and for their hard work and dedication to caring for the community.

ECU Health team members gather around to recognize Veteran's Day.

“Military service requires a commitment that is beyond the ability and comprehension of many,” said Smith. “In times of peace, and especially in times of war, it necessitates an allegiance to something greater than oneself. Here at ECU Health Medical Center, we’re also called to a common purpose as stated in our mission statement: to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. In our veteran colleagues that we have here and that are serving right now throughout ECU Health Medical Center and all across Vidant Health, we are fortunate to have people who know what it means to make a commitment like that. They’ve done it.”

Proud Air Force veteran now CVIU Staff Nurse at VMC

Among the 500 military veterans who now serve as Vidant team members is Audrey “Lee” Webb.

Born and raised in Windsor, North Carolina, Webb comes from a long line of family members who served in the military. Both her father and brother retired from the United States Army, while she was the first in her family to enlist and serve in the United States Air Force.

During her eight years in the Air Force, Lee traveled the world. She was stationed in Virginia, South Korea, Germany and Oklahoma. It was during her time in South Korea, that she picked up the nickname “Lee,” and it stuck with her ever since. Lee also served during Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia, and when her unit first arrived in the country, she was one of two women in a group of 67 men.

While enlisted, Lee worked in Non-Destructive Inspections (NDI). NDI personnel identify possible defects in systems and equipment. Wear, tear and fatigue occur in metals without visible signs. Similar to employing x-rays to visualize internal body parts, NDI personnel use non-invasive methods to inspect the insides of metal objects.

One of her most memorable times was being awarded the “Below the Zone.” Below the Zone is a competitive early promotion program that offers exceptional Air Force members the opportunity to earn their next rank six months early. Members are nominated by their chain of command and undergo a rigorous interview process to go over their major accomplishments and attributes. Lee was one of two Air Force members who earned Below the Zone in her unit.

After being honorably discharged from the Air Force as a Sergeant (E-4) in 1995, Lee came back to eastern North Carolina to use her GI bill to attend nursing school at Pitt Community College. Right out of college, she was hired at Vidant (previously Pitt Memorial Hospital). She has worked as a nurse at VMC for over 20 years now, currently serving as a Staff Nurse III on CVIU.

When asked how her military training has helped with her current career, she replied, “I am used to team building and teamwork. In the Air Force, we were mission-focused, and we are mission-focused in health care, as well.”

Lee said, “Traveling and serving in third-world countries and seeing the conditions there, really makes you appreciate what we have here. I am proud to have served our country. I love America!”

This Veterans Day – and every day – we are grateful to Vidant team members who served our nation and now serve eastern North Carolina. We are Vidant Proud of their commitment and dedication to improving the health and well-being of those around them. Please join us in thanking these heroes for all they do, for all of us. Watch a recap of the celebration at VMC below.