JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (May 12, 2021) -- Brooke Army Medical Center held a Lifetime of Service award ceremony May 11 to honor the legacy of employees who have served 45 or more years in civil service.
The new award was presented to a group of 18 individuals from across the organization whose years of service ranged from 45 to 66 years, for a combined total of 876 years of federal service.
“That’s an incredible milestone, representing over four decades, in some cases more, of dedicated service,” said Army Col. Michael Wirt, BAMC commander. “Their dedication to our nation and to our mission here at BAMC is astounding and certainly worthy of being recognized.”
Wirt noted that civilians bring many qualities to the table, including institutional knowledge, expertise and experience.
“They offer continuity and consistency through turbulent and ever-changing times,” Wirt said. “They step up with excellence when their military colleagues are called to service. We could not sustain this mission without them.”
Former BAMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Shan Bagby, U.S. Army Regional Health Command – Central commanding general, served as the guest speaker for the inaugural event.
“I miss my BAMC family already,” Bagby said. “However, I am very excited to be joining you to honor our teammates who have given so much of their lives to the service of our nation.”
Bagby spoke about patriotism, quoting Jesse Ventura, actor, and former pro wrestler and politician. “Patriotism is voluntary. It is a feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. A patriot shows their patriotism through their actions, by their choice.”
“I think that quote perfectly encapsulates the prevailing attitude of our civil service heroes here at BAMC,” Bagby said. “You live the definition of patriotism, dedication and perseverance each and every day with your enormous contributions to the Army medicine mission.”
Bagby said the global pandemic this past year proved how much civilians are needed to help sustain the mission at BAMC.
“As we sent our military nurses and doctors around the nation and the world to assist hard-hit areas during the height of COVID-19’s spread, we relied heavily on our civilians to keep the forward momentum of our pandemic response within our hospitals,” Bagby said. “In fact, civilians contribute to our force readiness in many, many ways. They lead, manage, and maintain critical programs that support our service members and their families, at home and abroad. And, of course, their main contribution is the invaluable institutional knowledge and continuity they provide so our Soldiers can do what they do best on the battlefield.”
Michael Dulevitz, chief of the office of Volunteer Services, has spent more than 38 of his 45 years in civil service at BAMC.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be allowed to serve our country and, more importantly, BAMC,” Dulevitz said. “Civil service allowed me to continue my service after leaving the Air Force. BAMC, from the work perspective, is my home away from home, and I have never wanted to leave since on-boarding in 1982. It gives me a true sense of purpose and belonging to a team. I am very proud to tell people that I work here.”
“Civilians are a vital, invaluable, enduring component of our National Security Strategy,” Bagby said.
Another former BAMC Commander, Maj. Gen. George Appenzeller, assistant director for combat support, Defense Health Agency, agrees.
“In the military we are the bricks; but really the foundation, the mortar, the cement, that’s all our civilian staff,” Appenzeller said. “It’s not just when we deploy, it’s not just when we go overseas, and it’s more than just prepping for casualty care, it’s the day in and day out work.”
Honoree Department Years
Kadir Akyol Patient Experience Office 45
Howard Benjamin Department of Nutritional Medicine 45
Henry Campbell Logistics Division 45
Lee Crockett Logistics Division 45
Michael Dulevitz Volunteer Services Section 45
Luisa Garcia-Melendez Patient Administration Division 45
Rodney Hammond Patient Administration Division 45
Charles Choi Resource Management Division 46
Roy Monk Department of Behavioral Medicine 46
Abraham Salazar Department of Medicine 46
Eluterio Cantu Jr. Department of Nursing 47
Patricia Waters Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology 48
Michael Banta Logistics Division 49
Frank Garcia Department of Emergency Medicine 49
Patricia Brown Department of Preventive Medicine 53
Sergio Vega Department of Operative Services 53
William Davis Jr. Department of Behavioral Medicine 58
Carolyn Putnam Command Suite Section 66