By Maj. Darlene Lazard, Desmond T. Doss Health ClinicNovember 27, 2019
HONOLULU, Hawaii -- As part of an annual tradition for the past eight years, on Nov. 15, the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic (DDHC) hosted the 2019 Memorial Road March in honor of Lt. Col. David Cabrera and Staff Sgt. Christopher Newman.
Cabrera, 41, of Abilene, Texas, was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine assigned to Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Newman, 26, of Shelby, North Carolina, was a Behavioral Health Technician assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Cabrera and Newman were killed on Oct. 29, 2011 by a Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device on their NATO Convoy.
Since 2011, the DDHC's Behavioral Health Department has kept the memories of Cabrera and Newman alive by honoring them and their service through these annual marches. This year, nearly 100 service members and civilian personnel participated in the two-mile march held at Mokuleai Beach Park in Honolulu, Hawaii.
"Memorializing our fallen comrades is an opportunity to honor their memory, as well as strengthen the bond between service members," said Maj. Alexander Ragan, chief, Department of Behavioral Health. "Soldiers actively decrease mental health stigma, increase moral, and assist in the grieving process when they share stories," he added.
Those who have passed away leave a mark. Whether it is on a tombstone, initials sketched into a tree, or more importantly, a memory in our hearts. When we memorialize service members' lives, we keep their memory alive. We remember the impact they had on our lives, some of which being the catalyst to Soldier's decision to join the military and become healthcare professionals.
"Lt. Col. Cabrera was the reason I chose to complete my Ph.D.," said Lt. Col. David Sensiba, chief, Family Advocacy Program. "I am grateful for the impact he had on my life," he added.
Newman's grandfather, Donald, also attended this year's march and described his grandson as a hard working Soldier.
"Chris was an amazing man. He worked hard and was committed to his Soldiers. He would've loved this event," he said.
During the march, DDHC Soldiers also had the opportunity to memorialize fellow Soldiers who they had lost in previous deployments in both Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world since 2001.
Col. Dave Zimmerman, commander, DDHC, closed the ceremony with a story.
"I march today for Capt. Sean Sims, who was the commander of A Company, 2-2 Infantry Division, and died 15 years ago this week during the battle of Fallujah," Zimmerman said. "This march helps me cope with Sean's loss and reinforces my commitment to sustain his memory. I encourage everybody to spread the word to make this an even bigger event next year."
As we begin this Holiday season with Thanksgiving, it represents a time to give thanks for what we have but to also give thanks for those who serve to defend our freedoms and for those memories of loved ones who have passed away, the Soldiers and Civilians of DDHC remember not only Cabrera and Newman's sacrifice, but the sacrifices of every service member who has lost their life and the families they leave behind.